Tensions are flaring in Eastern Europe. With the background of the absolute carnage of the war in the Ukraine, involving some of the biggest battles since WW2, the recent developments pitting NATO’s Poland and the Baltic countries against Belarus and Russia is a distressing reality.
As of now, as much as 11 columns of military vehicles and equipment, most likely belonging to Wagner PMC, have entered Belarus from Russia, and moved to Tsel, near the Polish Border.
Radio Free Europe reported:
“Military equipment and vehicles believed to belong to the private Wagner mercenary group continue to move to a site in the village of Tsel in eastern Belarus that is believed to be a site where troops from Yevgeny Prigozhin’s company have settled after its aborted mutiny in Russia last month.
Images from the Planet Labs service published on July 25 show at least 750 pieces of equipment and trucks of different types near the tent camp in what used to be a former garrison for members of a Belarusian missile brigade.
Since July 19, the amount of equipment and cars has been building steadily and now includes 62 tent-covered trucks, 534 minibuses, vans, SUVs, pickups, and regular cars, 33 buses of various types, 99 trucks, including some with platforms and construction equipment on them, and 26 trucks and armored vehicles used to transport military personnel.”
The shadowy Prigozhin, Wagner’s founder and leader, appeared in a video welcoming his fighters to Belarus, saying they would ‘help to turn the country’s army into the second-best in the world’.
If you add that to recent ‘tongue-in cheek’ comments by Belarus’ Lukashenko about Wagner fighters wanting to ‘go on an excursion’ in Poland, it’s no surprise there’s a flurry of reactions to all that.
“Poland, Lithuania and Latvia could jointly decide to shut their borders with close Russian ally Belarus if there are serious incidents involving the Wagner group along their frontiers with the country, Poland’s Interior Minister said on Thursday.”
WATCH: Polish armored car column heading to Belarusian border.
NATO member Poland has moved troops to the east, after which Putin accused Poland of having territorial ambitions, and said ‘any aggression against Belarus would be considered an attack on Russia’.
“‘Undoubtedly, should there be serious incidents involving the Wagner group on the borders of NATO and EU countries, such as Poland, Lithuania or Latvia, we will undoubtedly take an action together’, the [Polish] minister, Mariusz Kaminski, said.
‘I do not exclude that if we decide that this is the right answer at the moment, we will lead to the complete isolation of Belarus’.”
Lithuanian news site LRT also reported on the growing tensions:
“On Thursday, top Polish politicians visited the border with Belarus, where tensions are rising. They talked about the dangers arising from Belarus and Russia, and said that Poland is ready to counter any provocations.”
In 2022, Poland built a 5.5-meter-high secured fence running along a 186-kilometer stretch in the 400-kilometer-long border.
“‘It is still unclear what the mission of the Wagner fighters transferred from Russia to Belarus is’, Stanislaw Zaryn, the representative of the coordinator of the Polish secret service, said in Warsaw. ‘However, we must prepare for their use against Poland’, he added. The Polish army has already transferred part of its troops from the west of the country to the east.
[Zaryn also said that] Wagner’s members arrived in Belarus without heavy equipment, so their military significance is ‘rather small’.”
But some developments show that the Polish are taking the Wagner threat very seriously.
“Poland creates a special unit to fight against PMC ‘Wagner’ against the backdrop of statements by Alexander Lukashenko.
[The source is] Polish Minister of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak: according to the official, the new Polish military engineering battalion will be deployed near the Suwalki corridor.
‘This is another military unit built by us from scratch, and, I assure you, it will not be the last one’, Blashchak writes.”
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