In an exclusive interview with state-owned broadcaster TVP1, Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wasik has raised alarms about the possible use of Wagner Group mercenaries to destabilize Poland ahead of its impending parliamentary election. Wasik pointed out the presence of Russian mercenaries affiliated with the Wagner Group in neighboring Belarus and indicated that their estimated numbers are closer to 3,000 than the previously suggested 10,000.
“We must consider the possibility that Wagner fighters could be employed to sow instability during the election,” Wasik emphasized, shedding light on the potential risks. Poland is slated to conduct its parliamentary ballot later this autumn, with the specific date yet to be confirmed by the president’s office.
Wasik further underlined the nation’s strategic preparation for a worst-case scenario, including the potential for mercenaries to disrupt the Polish border. This has prompted heightened security measures and a bolstering of armed forces near the border area.
While some Wagner forces might indeed be involved in training the Belarusian military, Wasik suggested that their presence could also pose an opportunity to relocate them closer to the Polish border. The motivations behind the Wagner fighters’ presence in Belarus remain unclear, as Wasik noted, “No one knows exactly why the Wagner fighters came to Belarus.”
The Wagner Group’s increased presence in Belarus follows a failed mutiny against Russian authorities in late June. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko played a role in mediating discussions between Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Subsequent to these negotiations, Lukashenko extended asylum to Prigozhin and his mercenary cohort within Belarus.