Title: President Lukashenko Defends Presence of Wagner’s Fighters in Belarus, Denies Approach to Polish Border
Subtitle: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko emphasizes the importance of Wagner’s mercenaries in sharing combat experience
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has affirmed that Wagner’s mercenaries currently operating in the country are “our kind of people” and dismissed claims from Poland suggesting that a group of them approached the Polish border. According to a statement released by Lukashenko’s office, the President expressed his support for the private military company and assured their safety if detained.
Addressing the situation, Lukashenko referred to his intervention during the coup attempt orchestrated by Wagner’s boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, stating that he understood the potential repercussions if Russia faced internal unrest. Believing that such unrest could extend to neighboring countries, Lukashenko asserted his commitment to the group and vowed to extract them to Belarus, ensuring their protection.
Highlighting the fighters’ valuable contribution, Lukashenko acknowledged their extensive combat experience and the free assistance they provide Belarus. He indicated that while they are indeed mercenaries driven by financial incentives, they impart their knowledge and expertise to Belarusian military personnel.
Regarding Poland’s concerns about the movement of approximately 100 Wagner fighters, Lukashenko firmly denied their presence, suggesting that any positioning was solely aimed at transmitting combat experience to local brigades stationed in Brest and Grodno. Lukashenko emphasized the significance of training the Belarusian military to maintain a formidable force. He stated that the fighters mostly remained in Belarus, near Osipovichi, following his orders.
Lukashenko also mentioned his lighthearted remarks made to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a recent visit, jokingly expressing how the Wagnerian mercenaries had started to “stress” him with their desires to “go west” for an “excursion.” However, he underscored the sacrifices made by the group in battle and their loyalty to Belarus.
Furthermore, Lukashenko contended that the Polish authorities should appreciate the presence of Wagner’s fighters in Belarus, claiming that thousands of them could have infiltrated Poland if not for the country’s support. He stated that rather than holding it against him, Poland should thank him for preventing any potential security threats.
It remains to be seen whether Lukashenko’s defense of Wagner’s presence and denial of their approach to the Polish border will alleviate concerns or heighten tensions between Belarus and its neighboring countries. The situation emphasizes the delicate balance in managing regional security dynamics amidst ongoing geopolitical challenges.