Polish state services have information on where the mercenaries of the Wagner Group are located after they moved towards a strategic stretch of the Polish border, a deputy minister has said.
Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, said on Saturday that over 100 mercenaries of the Wagner Group had moved towards the Suwalki Gap, a strategic stretch of Polish territory lying between Belarus and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
Maciej Wasik, a deputy minister of interior and administration, confirmed to Polish state-owned Radio Three on Monday that the Polish state services have information on the Wagner group’s movements and are monitoring the situation.
The mercenaries are changing their position during training and their plans are unclear but the Polish services “are monitoring this process,” Wasik said.
“They have a special place in the centre of Belarus at a training ground where they are staying and have their main camp,” Wasik said.
According to Wasik, the Wagner fighters did not come to Belarus for a “holiday.”
“They are there for a purpose,” he said, pointing out that the group should not be underestimated as “they are unscrupulous criminals, they fight and kill for money.”
Wasik also said that Poland was considering shutting the border with Belarus altogether, but this required further talks with its Baltic allies.
“It is necessary to consider whether to completely isolate Belarus,” he said. “We need to talk about it with our friends – with Lithuania and Latvia.”
The Wagner Group has been building up its presence in Belarus after a failed mutiny against the Russian authorities in late June as Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko mediated between the Wagner Group leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Following the negotiations, he decided to offer a safe haven in Belarus to Prigozhin and his mercenaries.
In reaction to the developments, the Polish government decided to deploy 500 police officers and military units to the Belarusian border to support the already present forces there.