Poland ready for provocations on Belarusian border, minister says

"I am convinced that our army, our Border Guard and Police officers are very well prepared for any scenario," Kamiński said. Artur Reszko/PAP

Poland's interior minister has said that the country is well prepared for "various types of provocations and incidents" given the presence of the Wagner Group beyond the Polish-Belarusian border.

Talking to a press briefing organised in the border town of Krynki in northeastern Poland, Mariusz Kamiński said there are between 1,000 and 1,200 mercenaries in Belarus, with the majority of them stationed on the Asipovichy training ground and several dozen mercenaries on the training ground near Brest.

He said that the Wagner Group consists of "criminals released from Russian prisons, with blood on their hands."

"We are dealing with people who are undoubtedly very dangerous. Some of them ended up in Belarus as a result of political agreements concluded between the Russians and the Belarusian regime. We're watching these people, we're clear on where they are and what they're going to do," he said.

At the same time, Kamiński reassured reporters that the Wagnerites arrived in Belarus without heavy equipment, so their military significance is "quite trivial" and that "any modern Nato army, such as the Polish army, is undoubtedly able to quickly bring order to this type of formations."

"I am convinced that our army, our Border Guard and Police officers are very well prepared for any scenario," he added.

Asked whether a decision to close all border crossings with Belarus is being considered, Kamiński replied that various variants are envisaged.

"We are in contact with friends from Lithuania and Latvia, because they are also exposed to similar provocations. Undoubtedly... should there be serious incidents involving the Wagnerites on the borders of Nato and EU countries, such as like Poland, Lithuania or Latvia, we will undoubtedly take action together," he said.

"And I do not rule out that if we decide that this is the right response at the moment, we will bring about the complete isolation of Belarus and the Belarusian regime must be aware of this," Kamiński added.

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