Poland's PM warns of Wagner 'provocations' on NATO's border

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warned the mercenary company Wagner Group was provoking NATO’s eastern flank by moving to the Poland-Lithuania border and training with Belarusian soldiers.

“Russia and Belarus are desperate and will test us, and the presence of Wagner’s group on the eastern flank of NATO is another challenge to our security,” Morawiecki wrote on Facebook.

The prime minister’s statement comes just days after he warned that Wagner fighters are moving closer to the Suwalki Gap at the intersection of Poland, Belarus and Lithuania.

On Tuesday, Poland, a NATO member, also accused two Belarusian helicopters of flying into its airspace and violating its territorial boundaries.

The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied the helicopters flew into Polish airspace, according to state-run media outlet Belta.

Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko has also accused Poland of training and arming militants and of threatening Minsk. He said Wagner fighters are there to help train the Belarusian army.

“They help us totally for free and pass on their experience,” Lukashenko said during an event with residents of a border region this week. “I need to train my own military personnel because an army that doesn’t fight is half an army. You also understand it perfectly well. I don’t want to fight. I don’t want our guys to die. This is why they need to be trained.”

In June, Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin marched on Moscow with thousands of fighters behind his back before he reached a deal — brokered by Lukashenko — with Russian President Vladimir Putin to stand down.

As part of the deal, Prigozhin was exiled to Belarus and his fighters have been allowed to move to the Russian-allied country with him.

In Poland, Morawiecki said there has been “constant pressure” from Russia and Belarus for two years. Now, the Polish prime minister says the country is unfairly the “subject of provocation and hybrid attacks.”

“There are many scenarios to use against Poland by the Wagner Group,” he wrote in another post on Facebook.

Morawiecki said Poland was “vigilant and prepared” in anticipation of any action at the border.

“That’s why we are constantly building our defense capabilities, investing in the latest weapons and border security,” he wrote.

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