Deputy defence minister warns against provocations by Wagner Group

Provocations by the Russian Wagner mercenary group now stationed in Belarus can be expected especially before the July Nato summit in Vilnius, a Polish deputy foreign minister has warned.

Wojciech Skurkiewicz told Polish Radio on Friday that the Wagner group, which aided Russia in its invasion of Ukraine and was now in Belarus after a failed rebellion against the Russian strongman, Vladimir Putin, could be expected to conduct hostile operations against Ukraine, and possibly Poland and Lithuania, from Belarusian territory.

"We are convinced that they are not there to relax, but to conduct planned operations to the south, against Ukraine, and possibly also to the west against Poland and to the north against Lithuania," Skurkiewicz said.

He especially warned that such provocations may increase before the Nato summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, scheduled for July 11-12.

Citing Polish intelligence sources, Skurkiewicz said at least 8,000 Wagner troops were currently stationed in Belarus, and warned that their numbers could rise in the near future.

On Wednesday Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland's governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, said Poland was responding to the Wagner group's presence in Belarus by reinforcing its defences in the east.

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