Warning: Wagner Allegedly Considers Disguising as Migrants to Infiltrate EU, says PM Morawiecki
In recent times, concerns have been raised about the potential security risks posed by Wagner fighters in Belarus, as they could potentially exploit illegal migration to enter the European Union. Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has issued a warning, describing the situation as a form of “hybrid warfare.” The presence of approximately 100 Wagner troops near Grodno, a city close to the borders of Poland and Lithuania, has raised alarm bells in the region.
The Wagner Group’s Presence in Belarus
The Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization, has seen some of its troops relocate to Belarus following a brief mutiny in Russia earlier in June. Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has previously denied any involvement in provoking a migrant crisis in Europe by encouraging migrants to approach the borders of EU nations. However, the recent movements of Wagner fighters near the Suwalki gap, which is Poland’s 60-mile border with Lithuania, have intensified concerns.
A Potential Security Threat
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has expressed his concern that the Wagner mercenaries might attempt to pose as Belarusian border guards to aid migrants in crossing into the EU illegally. Alternatively, they could even impersonate migrants themselves to gain entry into the bloc. This raises the stakes and heightens the risk of hybrid attacks on Polish territory.
The situation has escalated as thousands of Wagner fighters have already relocated to Belarus following the group’s failed mutiny against the Russian government. They were offered a choice between joining the regular Russian army or heading to Belarus, a country closely aligned with Russia.
Rising Border Tensions
In response to the escalating situation, there have been over 16,000 attempts to cross the border between Belarus and Poland this year alone. The EU border agency Frontex has reported 2,312 illegal border crossings into the EU from Belarus during the period from January to June.
Both Poland and Lithuania have taken measures to address the issue, constructing fences along their respective borders with Belarus to deter illegal crossings. Furthermore, there are discussions about the possibility of completely closing their borders with Belarus.
Belarus’ Role in the Migration Crisis
Minsk has faced accusations of encouraging migrants from the Middle East to travel to Belarus, luring them with false promises of easy access to the EU. The Polish Border Guard has claimed that Belarusian border guards actively assist migrants in crossing into the country illegally, far from official checkpoints.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s warning comes in the lead-up to this autumn’s parliamentary elections in Poland. The Polish government is keen to underscore its commitment to strengthening border security amid rising concerns over the potential security threats posed by Wagner fighters near the borders.
The presence of Wagner fighters in Belarus has raised legitimate concerns about the security of EU borders, particularly Poland’s border with Lithuania. The potential for these mercenaries to facilitate illegal migration into the EU and potentially exploit vulnerabilities in the region is a cause for alarm. As the situation develops, it will be crucial for relevant authorities to take necessary actions to address the security risks and protect the integrity of EU borders.
- What is the Wagner Group? The Wagner Group is a Russian paramilitary organization known for its involvement in various conflicts and military operations.
- Why are Wagner fighters relocating to Belarus? Following a failed mutiny in Russia, some Wagner fighters were given the option to join the regular Russian army or move to Belarus.
- How many illegal border crossings have occurred from Belarus to the EU? According to Frontex, there were 2,312 illegal border crossings into the EU from Belarus between January and June.
- What measures have Poland and Lithuania taken to address the issue? Both Poland and Lithuania have erected fences along their borders with Belarus to deter illegal crossings and are considering closing their borders altogether.
- What are the accusations against Belarus regarding the migration crisis? Belarus has faced accusations of encouraging migrants from the Middle East to travel to the country, promising them easy access to the EU.