(IntegrityPress.org) – The Belarusian military has begun drills near the borders with Poland and Lithuania. As the notorious Wagner mercenary group has recently found itself closer to the West than ever before due to its relocation to Belarus after the attempted coup, the drills signify another indirect act of hostility toward NATO and the EU.
The president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has stated that Wagner members are “itching to visit” Warsaw and other Polish cities, obviously a thinly veiled threat against the EU/NATO member. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has also recently threatened Poland, saying that Russia should “remind” their friends in Warsaw that western Poland was a gift from Stalin.
In the first week of August, both Poland and Lithuania concurred that around 4,000 Wagner PMC soldiers are stationed in border regions near the two countries. They are both considering complete shutdowns of their borders with Belarus, indicating heavy tensions between the countries.
Both countries have indicated that they are “prepared” for altercations from Minsk or Moscow, especially regarding Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave sandwiched between their borders. Kaliningrad contains a Russian military base.
The Defense Ministry of Belarus stated the drills are only meant for their own troops, who are practicing and learning from the current war in Ukraine. They were surprisingly open in revealing the contents of the drills, saying the training was focused heavily on drone warfare and the role of motorized infantry. Motorized infantry entails soldiers having access to tactical vehicles, such as BTRs and troop carriers, which are usually weaponized.
The Suwalki Gap in the Belarusian part, where the drills are currently taking place, is an extremely important area for the Baltic countries, as it connects them to the rest of the EU and NATO. It is important for Russia and Belarus as well since it contains the border with Belarus and Kaliningrad. The area would prove crucial for Russia to bring assets to the region if a conflict were to break out.
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