Poland says Wagner entirely controlled by Russia

Poland says Wagner entirely controlled by Russia

Warsaw does not consider Wagner private military group, says President Andrzej Duda

By Nur Asena Erturk

ANKARA (AA) – Poland's president said Friday the Wagner Group is controlled entirely by Russia.

Andrzej Duda said on the sidelines of a visit to the city of Gdynia in northern Poland, that Warsaw does not consider Wagner a private military group, according to PAP news agency.

"I have no doubts that the activities carried out by Wagner are controlled by the Russian authorities," Duda said.

Polish officials are voicing criticism over Wagner presence in Belarus.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said: "Wagner mercenaries will probably disguise themselves as Belarusian border guards. They will destabilize Poland by helping irregular migrants get into Polish territory, or else impersonate immigrants illegally crossing the border."

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko denied allegations that Wagner mercenaries were deployed in an area near the Suwalki Gap, which also borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

"Those men are around the town of Asipovichy in the center of Belarus and are not moving anywhere," he said.

In June, Wagner head Evgeny Prigozhin accused the Russian Defense Ministry of attacking the group’s fighters. He declared a “March of Justice” and set off toward Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the mercenary's uprising an act of “treason.”

After the attempted rebellion, Prigozhin turned back “to avoid bloodshed,” and Wagner was moved to Belarus, following an agreement with Putin that was negotiated through Lukashenko, who promised to keep Wagner in central Belarus.

- Polish airspace violation

Also on Friday, the Polish Foreign Ministry called on Belarus to explain the violation of Poland's airspace by helicopters earlier this week.

"We call on Belarus to urgently explain this incident, correct its stance and stop provocations along the Polish border," the ministry said in a statement, according to PAP.

Polish Deputy Defense Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz on Wednesday described the violation as a provocation.

According to reports, helicopters were spotted flying over the Bialowieza area near the Polish-Belarusian border on Aug. 1, prompting the Polish Foreign Ministry to issue a strong protest.

Poland informed NATO of the violation and Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak decided to increase the number of troops and military assets at the border, including helicopters.

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