Wagner on NATO’s doorstep – Belarus and Europe are on the Brink of a New Cold War

It is conceivable that Prigozhin already has sufficient personnel and a base in Belarus.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

In an interview with “Belarus 1,” Konstantin Bychek, deputy head of the Investigative Department of the State Security Committee, said that Belarus has intelligence on terrorists’ plans to invade the nation with force from abroad.

“The KGB is monitoring such terrorist activities. We are prepared for these challenges. Measures are being taken as instructed by the head of state. Fugitive terrorists and the collective West supporting them have no chance. We have sufficient capabilities to neutralise the threat in a timely manner,” he noted. It is specified that the criminals’ training takes place within special units and armed formations.

He said criminals train with special units and armed formations from the West.

“In Poland, it is ‘Grom,’ in Lithuania, it is the Union of Lithuanian Riflemen, and in Ukraine, it is the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) and Ukrainian military intelligence units,” said the agency’s representative. 

He added that the militants then endure “field training” in the southeast of Ukraine before becoming instructors and planning terrorist attacks and invasions of Belarus.

Bychek emphasised that the Belarusian KGB is aware of the identities of the special service personnel involved in training militants and the funds used to fund their activities.

Bycheck’s statement comes one day after the accord reached between the Kremlin and Wagner PMC boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, which Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko mediated, stipulating that the Wagner leader would live in exile in Belarus. It is unclear whether Prigozhin would bring members of his private military company with him.

The Sunday Times reported last week that hundreds of militants are receiving training in Poznan, Poland. They fled Belarus and now intend to initiate a military coup there.

Ivan Tertel, the chief of the KGB in Belarus, had previously stated that there are recruitment and training camps in certain Western countries and Ukraine for those willing to overthrow the government of Belarus by inciting a rebellion on its territory. He said radical opposition representatives had requested $250 million from Western sponsors for subversive activities.

Prigozhin in Belarus

Yevgeny Prigozhin’s activities are not new in Belarus. He is suspected of orchestrating the deployment of Russian mercenaries in the country. Following the disputed presidential election in 2020, Wagner assisted President Lukashenko’s suppression of demonstrations. Due to this, it is conceivable that Prigozhin already has sufficient personnel and a base in Belarus.

For the Belarusian opposition, whose leader Svetlana Tikhanovska went into exile a day after the 2020 presidential election she claims she won, Lukashenko’s dependence on Russia makes his decision to welcome Prigozhin into Belarusian territory risky.

Prigozhin at NATO gates

Nevertheless, there is also a geopolitical component. The notion of the leader of the most famous mercenary group in the world settling in Belarus is unpopular with Belarus’s neighbours. President Gitanas Nausėda of Lithuania, whose nation will host a NATO summit next month, warned that the alliance would need to reinforce its eastern flank if Prigogine or a member of the Wagner group ended up in Belarus with ambiguous intentions. Since 2020, Lukashenko’s political survival has become increasingly dependent on the Kremlin, and he now appears to be Putin’s vassal. Belarus has also accepted Russian tactical nuclear weapons on its territory.

Since Russia doe not has a direct border with NATO, Belarus remains its gateway for an offensive. Since Russia has no direct border with NATO, Belarus remains its entry point for offensive operations. Belarus shares its borders with five nations: Poland to the West, Lithuania to the northwest, Latvia and the Russian Federation to the north, Russia to the northeast and east, and Ukraine to the south.

In May, NATO conducted extensive exercises near the Belarusian border, which alarmed the president of Belarus. More than 7,000 U.S. and 17,000 multinational service members from over 20 Allies and partner nations participated in the DEFENDER 23 exercises from April 22 to June 23. It demonstrated the U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s ability to rapidly aggregate, use combat power in Eastern Europe, increase NATO Alliance lethality through long-distance shooting, build unit readiness in a complex multinational environment, and leverage the host nation’s infrastructure to expand operational reach.

And in Poland, from May 6 to May 26, the largest military exercise ever, Anakonda-23, involving over 12,000 military personnel, was held. Even after that, the Western media said that Belarus would still be the perpetrator for some reason.

Belarus has objected to the use of the Russian Army to attack Ukraine from its territory, but Europe now fears that Yevgeny Prigozhin may command an assault on Ukraine via Belarus.

Richard Dannat, a retired British general who commanded the British General Staff, has warned that Prigozhin threatens the Ukrainian flank closest to Kyiv if he continues to gather combat-ready combat forces around him. In an interview with Sky News, he stated that he believes it is “quite conceivable” that the Russian leadership could use the Wagner PMC in a new attempt to seize Kyiv.

The distance between the Belarus border and Kyiv is approximately 100 kilometres in a direct line. The border between the two countries is approximately 1000 kilometres long. Due to the presence of the Russian Armed Forces in Belarus, Ukraine has already increased its troop levels.


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