Poland and Ukraine, both sharing borders with Belarus, have expressed concerns over the Wagner group fighters’ presence and the possibility of the mercenaries launching an offensive from a base in Belarus.
Many of the Russian mercenaries chose to flee to Belarus after the aborted rebellion led by Yevgeny Prigozhin last month.
They are now stationed in a military camp at Tsel in southern Belarus and have been training the country’s special armed forces in exercises at training grounds which are a few kilometers away from the borders of Poland and Ukraine.
However, Washington-based think tank Institute of Study of War (ISW) wrote in an assessment: “There is no indication that Wagner fighters in Belarus have the heavy weaponry necessary to mount a serious offensive against Ukraine or Poland without significant rearmament, as it was a condition of the Putin-Lukashenko-Prigozhin deal ending the armed rebellion that Wagner surrender such weapons to the Russian Ministry of Defense.”
It added: “Wagner forces in Belarus pose no military threat to Poland or Ukraine, for that matter, until and unless they are re-equipped with mechanized equipment. They pose no meaningful threat to NATO even then.”