1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Poland strengthens Belarus border after Wagner chief arrival

July 2, 2023

The Polish interior minister said more personnel would guard the border with Belarus, where the arrival of thousands of Wagner troops following their revolt against Russia's Putin has prompted regional security concerns.

Polish border officials guard a metal wall on its border with Belarus
Poland currently has thousands of border guards and soldiers protecting its border with BelarusImage: Michal Dyjuk/AP Photo/picture alliance

Poland is deploying additional police personnel to its border with Belarus to strengthen security, Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said on Sunday.

Kaminski wrote on Twitter that "due to the tense situation on the border with Belarus I have decided to bolster our forces with 500 Polish police from preventive and counter-terrorism units."

Their deployment will be in addition to 5000 border guards and 2000 soldiers monitoring the security of the border, he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is also the leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), said last week he believed there were 8,000 Wagner troops already in Belarus.

Kaczynski had said that Poland would take both temporary and permanent steps to strengthen the border, including boosting the presence of security forces and increasing fortifications.

He said that Wagner's presence in Belarus could mean a "new phase of hybrid warfare, a phase much more difficult than the one we have dealt with so far."

Wagner leader Prigozhin arrives in Belarus

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said last week that Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin had arrived to his country, prompting concerns among NATO nations that border Belarus, namely Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

Prigozhin had called on his troops to lead a march to Moscow last month before calling it off. Lukashenko was credited for helping to defuse the situation.

The march posed one of the most serious threats to Russian leader Vladimir Putin's leadership, which Prigozhin said was retaliation for a Russian attack that killed his mercenary forces.

Migrants try to cross into Poland from Belarus

The Polish Border Guard on Sunday also said that 187 people tried to cross into Poland from Belarus illegally on Saturday.

Poland accuses Belarus of artificially creating a migrant crisis on the border by flying in people from the Middle East and Africa and attempting to push them across the frontier. Minsk has denied the accusation.

rm/wd (Reuters, dpa)