Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki disclosed that approximately 100 soldiers from the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary organization, have advanced towards Grodno, a city close to the Polish border in Belarus. Morawiecki expressed concern over this development, viewing it as a potential step towards a hybrid attack on Polish territory, making the situation more precarious.
He further warned that the Wagner troops, present in Poland since a brief uprising against Russia last month, could disguise themselves as Belarusian border guards to facilitate illegal immigration into Poland or impersonate immigrants attempting to cross the border unlawfully.
Both the Polish government and the European Commission have accused Minsk of intentionally orchestrating the passage of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa through the Belarusian-Polish border since 2021, aiming to destabilize Poland and create tensions between Warsaw and Brussels.
Tensions have escalated between Belarus and Poland, with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko promising to retaliate against Warsaw, following accusations of election rigging in his disputed 2020 reelection and crackdowns on the Polish community residing in Belarus, especially in the border region of Grodno.
Recent reports suggest that Russian President Vladimir Putin moved short-range nuclear weapons close to the border area this month, further escalating regional tensions.
Residents of Terespol, a Polish town situated about 250 kilometers south along the Belarusian-Polish border, have reported regular shooting and military helicopters overhead after Wagner mercenaries arrived in the Belarusian town of Brest, just across the border.
While the exact number of Wagner troops in Belarus is subject to varying reports, Lukashenko has pledged to keep them in central Belarus. However, there are indications that the Belarusian Special Operations Forces are conducting joint training with the Wagner Group at the Brest military range, situated only 3.2 kilometers from the Bug River, which partially marks the border.
In response to these developments, Poland is deploying over 1,000 troops to Biala Podlaska and Kolno, towns in the east near Belarus, and an additional 500 police officers to strengthen border security. The situation remains highly volatile, with both regional and international concerns over the potential implications of the military movements and escalating tensions.