Wagner PMC and illegal migrants: hybrid threats to the Baltic countries and Poland are increasing
As expected, Poland and Lithuania reacted to Alexander Lukashenka’s threats about the “campaign” of the Wagner PMC to Warsaw or Rzeszow by strengthening border security and preparing a complete land blockade of Belarus in the event of armed incidents involving Wagner or illegal migrants. In turn, the Wagner PMC began to conduct combat coordination with units of the Belarusian law enforcement agencies to conduct joint combat operations.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki attended security forces the border post briefing in Melnik near the border with Belarus. The topic of discussion was the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border. For more than 2 years, Poland has been subjected to a hybrid attack by Russia and Belarus. Since the beginning of this year alone, more than 16,000 illegal attempts to cross the Polish border from the Belarusian side have been recorded. On July 27th, the Polish Border Guard registered attempts by 292 migrants to violate the border from Belarus. This is a record number of violators this year. Among the migrants were citizens of Sudan, Algeria, and Sri Lanka. Moreover, migrants began to throw stones at Polish patrols on the border with Belarus.
In addition, Warsaw is dealing with an even greater threat – the presence of PMC Wagner in Belarus. According to Warsaw’s information, more than 100 Wagner mercenaries moved towards the Suwalki corridor near Grodno in Belarus. This is a step towards a further hybrid attack on Polish territory. Perhaps they will disguise themselves as Belarusian border guards and help illegal migrants enter Polish territory and destabilize Poland. But it is also possible that they will try to enter Poland, posing as illegal migrants, and this creates additional risks.
The Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration of Poland, Mariusz Kamiński, even admits the possibility of closing all border crossings with Belarus in response to any serious provocation on the borders of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. In turn, Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anushauskas considers Lukashenka’s statements about the campaign of the “Wagnerians” in Poland to be disinformation. At the same time, Lithuania may reduce the number of bus trips to Belarus. Currently, 11 Lithuanian and 22 Belarusian carriers operate 66 routes between the two countries. The Ministry of Transport admits that if the Department of State Security considers the implementation of bus passenger transportation in communication with Belarus risky, then appropriate actions will be taken. Probably, they will affect only Lithuanian companies. Vilnius also intends to completely close the border with Belarus in the event of armed provocations involving PMC Wagner and / or illegal migrants.
Meanwhile, the “official” base of Wagner PMC in Belarus has not yet been opened, and recruitment has been suspended. But soon recruitment will resume again, including from among Belarusian citizens.
Now the instructors of the Wagner PMC are focused on conducting training and classes with the Belarusian law enforcement agencies and the army. Now they train not only territorial troops and special operations forces, but mechanized units. They were brought to classes with servicemen of the engineering troops, radiation, chemical and biological protection troops, as well as communications. Particular attention in the organization of training is paid to the following issues ensuring the survivability of troops in the conduct of hostilities.
Mercenaries of the Wagner PMC are also involved in the training of internal troops (BB). In addition, a meeting was held between the Minister of Internal Affairs Ivan Kubrakov and the commanders of the special forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Internal Troops of Belarus with representatives of the Wagner PMC, at which interaction with mercenaries was discussed. The parties have developed a clear plan of action, exchanged views on the use of certain types of equipment. The commander of the Internal Troops, Major General Nikolai Karpenkov, said that the internal troops of Belarus will undergo combat coordination with units of the Wagner PMC to conduct joint combat operations.
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