Proxy war: Wagner Group in Belarus possess serious threat to Poland, Lithuania and Slovakia

The events of a few weeks ago placed 8,000 of Wagner’s troops in Belarus – a country that’s friendly towards Russia and which may allow these Russian mercenaries to wreak havoc throughout Europe, or even begin a proxy war, according to some experts.

In just 24 hours, leader of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, staged an insurrection by sending troops towards Moscow.

But by the end of Saturday, Prigozhin halted the advance and ordered his men back to base as his troops came within 124 miles (200km) of reaching Moscow.

They retreated and by Monday, Wagner troops started leaving the city of Rostov-on-Don.

“After the Wagner PMC is relocated to Belarus, it could be about 8,000 Wagner PMC fighters. A second proxy conflict is quite possible, this time between Poland and Belarus, with an outpouring on Polish territory.

“The transfer of tactical nuclear weapons to Minsk fits into this scheme,” Mykola Volkivskyi, Former Advisor to the Chairman of the Committee of the Ukrainian Parliament, and president of the First International Ukrainian Foundation of Development, told the Mirror.

Volkivskyi’s words are looking to be an accurate prediction, as Poland announced this weekend that they are deploying additional police personnel to its border with Belarus to strengthen security, Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said on Sunday.

Similarly, Euronews reported that several countries, including Latvia, have reached out to NATO for help securing their borders, fearing the chaos that Wagner’s mercenaries could bring.

“That is why Polish politicians are now talking about possible threats and the need to strengthen Poland’s border, especially the one bordering Belarus.

“Before that, the fence on the Polish side had already been erected. The common border between Poland and Belarus is 398.6 kilometres long,” adds Volkivskyi. “In my opinion, the West did not expect the efficiency and speed with which the two sides reached a ‘peaceful consensus.'”

The next NATO summit is being held next week in Vilnius, which is just 30 km from Belarus – leaving some world leaders very concerned.

“We keep a very wary eye on everything that occurs in Belarus with [Wagner chief Yevgeny] Prigozhin there and an unknown number of very trained and skilled fighters who presumably will be joining him,” Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš told reporters upon arrival at a two-day summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

“That does potentially pose a threat. The threat would probably not be a frontal military threat, but the threat of attempted infiltration into Europe for unknown purposes. So that means we need to heighten our border awareness and make sure that we can control that,” he added.

However, just hours ago, Politico reported that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, said “that only a few of his mercenaries have ended up there.” In an interview with the news outlet on Wednesday, the “defensive alliance leader said Wagner forces do remain active in Africa and away from the frontline in Ukraine but that not many have arrived in Belarus.”

This leaves many countries in a difficult position – as Wagner’s forces are scattered around the world, they may use their position and proximity to cause chaos in other places, from flying in African and Middle-Eastern migrants to stage an artificial border crisis, or something less official but worse, since these soldiers are known for being hardened criminals that are recruited straight out of prison.

At the end of all this, most world leaders are still waiting to see how the dust settles after this conflict, as repercussions of a free Prigozhin are still not yet obvious. Media as well as other world leaders have been kept in the dark as to the specifications of Putin and Prigozhin’s new peace treaty.

Experts do understand that, “for perhaps the first time in 23 years, Putin was publicly humiliated and looked the weakest in all his years in power,” according to Mykola Volkivskyi.

Dr Precious Chatterje-Doody, a Lecturer in Politics and International Studies at Open University, UK added that: “Russian military morale was already low and this will have certainly damaged it further – not just amongst the rank and file but also amongst the top brass who have basically been made to look like fools.”

© 2023, GDC. © GDC and Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.