President of Belarus says Wagner’s mercenaries want to raid NATO country Poland

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Putin and Lukashenko met this Sunday in St. Petersburg

Lukashenko and Putin, this Sunday in St. PetersburgAlexander DemyanchukSputnik | AFP extension
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THE Wagner’s Russian mercenaries threaten Poland with an armed incursion from Belarus, while the Russian army again attacked historic Odessa, bombing apartment blocks, port facilities and the city’s largest Orthodox cathedral.

“Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I will. The Wagnerians have started to make us uncomfortable. We want to go to the West, give us permission. And I tell them, why do you want to go to the West? To take a trip to Warsaw, to Rzeszow,” Belarus President Alexandr Lukashenko said at the start of a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg.

The meeting coincided withimages of “death and destruction” in Odessa -as Pope Francis defined them-, an attack that Western foreign ministers did not hesitate to define a “war crime”.

“Ukraine needs a full-fledged anti-aircraft shield. It’s the only way to defeat the terror of Russian missiles,” Volodmir Zelensky, Ukrainian president, said on his Telegram channel.

Lukashenko has assured Putin that Minsk will keep the Wagnerians in check at the Moguiliov base, as agreed after the failed armed rebellion led by that group just a month ago, and that they will not be allowed to move, as their “mood is bad”. Just today was the first meeting between the two leaders after the revolt, in which the Belarusian intervened and managed to convince Wagner’s boss, Yevgueni Prigozhin, to retire to Belarus.

While Lukashenko was sympathetic to the mercenaries’ wishes, Putin – who first called his boss Prigozhin a traitor and then invited him to the Kremlin – watched on impassively. According to Wagner, several thousand Wagnerians are currently deployed in Belarus, soon to number 10,000, out of a total of 25,000 who are still “healthy and alive”.

A The 10th column of Russian mercenaries arrived in the former Soviet republic on Sunday in trucks and minibuses, said Gayun’s investigation team, which monitors military activity on Belarusian territory. This week Minsk reported joint training with Wagnerians on the Polish border, who immediately announced they were sending two military units to the area.

Lukashenko thanked Putin for saying what no Russian leader had ever said and that is to consider an attack on Belarus as an attack on Russia. “You are the first person in Russia to say it openly, clearly and understandably”, said the Belarusian, who recalled that “the war is underway against the entire NATO bloc”. And he showed Putin a map with Polish troop deployments near the Belarusian borders.

Poland has deployed a brigade about 40 kilometers from the city of Brest and another about 100 kilometers from Grodno, when before those units were about 500 kilometers apart, he explained.

“The Poles have opened (a factory for) repairing Leopard (tanks) on their territory. And the Rzeszow airport is activated, where the Americans send their equipment,” he said.

Lukashenko denounced that the rumors about Ukraine joining NATO are a “smokescreen” behind the alleged plans of Warsaw denounced by Moscow on the occupation of western Ukraine, an option that he considers “unacceptable”.

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