Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has claimed that the Wagner private military company (PMC) is planning a “hybrid attack” on Polish territory from Belarus. According to Morawiecki, more than 100 Wagner mercenaries have moved towards the Suwalki Gap near Grodno in Belarus, which is an area southwest of the border between Lithuania and Poland. The Suwalki Gap separates Belarus from the Russian Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad. Morawiecki believes that this alleged move is a significant step towards an upcoming hybrid attack on Polish territory.
The prime minister suggested that the Wagner fighters could pose as Belarusian border guards and assist illegal immigrants in entering Poland, with the aim of destabilizing the country. He also warned that members of the PMC could attempt to infiltrate Polish territory themselves by pretending to be illegal immigrants, which would create additional risks. Morawiecki’s claims come at a time when Warsaw has been dealing with a surge in illegal immigration attempts at its border, which the prime minister believes are orchestrated by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.
However, Russia has previously denied any involvement in the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border. Despite accusations from Warsaw, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov stated that “Russia has nothing to do with what is happening.” Nonetheless, several thousand Wagner members were dispatched to Belarus in June as part of an agreement with the Russian government, mediated by Minsk, to help end a mutiny led by the PMC’s chief, Evgeny Prigozhin. Lukashenko stated that these fighters would serve as instructors for the Belarusian military, sharing their experience gained during the conflict in Ukraine. Wagner has also been involved in military operations in Syria and Africa.
In a surprising turn of events, President Lukashenko informed President Putin that the Wagner fighters were eager to “go on tour to Warsaw” to settle a score with those they believe are providing Ukrainian troops with military support. This revelation added further weight to Poland’s concerns about a potential hybrid attack.
Responding to the arrival of Wagner in Belarus, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced that the country will increase the size of its military from 172,000 to 300,000 and raise defense spending to 4% of GDP.
The situation on the Polish-Belarusian border remains tense, with Poland on high alert for any signs of a hybrid attack. The alleged presence of Wagner mercenaries in Belarus raises concerns about the security and stability of the region. Poland is taking proactive measures to protect its territory and counter any potential threats, while urging the international community to address the issue and hold those responsible accountable.