Members of Russia’s Wagner group have started training special forces in Belarus at a military range just miles from the border with NATO-member Poland.
Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin was recently seen in a video welcoming his fighters to Belarus, noting that they wouldn’t be fighting in the Ukraine conflict, but that they needed to gather their strength for Africa while they trained the Belarusian army, per Reuters.
The Belarusian defense ministry said that the “armed forces of Belarus continue joint training with the fighters of the Wagner PMC (Private Military Company).”
“During the week, special operations forces units together with representatives of the Company will work out combat training tasks at the Brest military range.”
The range in question is just 3 miles east of the Polish border.
Poland started moving over 1,000 troops to the eastern part of the country earlier this month as tensions concerning Wagner fighters in Belarus could mean conflict on the border. Poland is a former Warsaw Pact member that has been a member of NATO since 1999.
Poland’s defense ministry made a statement on Thursday, assuring that its borders were secure and that it was prepared for “various scenarios as the situation develops.”
When Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked about Poland’s recent move, he said that “it is a cause for concern. The aggressiveness of Poland is a reality.”
"Such a hostile attitude towards Belarus and the Russian Federation requires heightened attention (from our side)."
The Wagner group’s failed munity in late June resulted in Prigozhin allegedly being sent to Belarus, though there have been conflicting reports on whether he really went to the country at all.Ukraine was recently blamed for attacking a bridge that connected the Crimean peninsula to mainland Russia, but the country has not taken responsibility for the attack.