Vladimir Putin slams ‘treason’ from Wagner mercenary group
Vladimir Putin warned Poland that any attack on Belarus would be considered an attack on Russia sending tensions in the region soaring.
The comments come after Poland decided to reinforce its eastern border with Belarus after Wagner Group fighters moved into the country.
Putin, however, characterised the decision as a play by Poland to annex parts of Belarus – a claim Warsaw has dismissed.
“It is well known that they also dream of the Belarusian lands,” he said without providing evidence for the claim.
The Russian President continued: “But as far as Belarus is concerned, it is part of the Union State [with Russia]; unleashing aggression against Belarus will mean aggression against the Russian Federation. We will respond to this with all the means at our disposal.”
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The rhetoric prompted Germany to publicly commit to defending its NATO ally with Berlin’s defence minister guaranteeing support should Poland’s eastern flank be attacked.
He said: “Where the Polish partners need support, they will receive it. They are NATO partners and reliable NATO allies, so we can confidently say that we are prepared.”
Poland’s defence ministry also said they were preparing for “various scenarios” as Wagner mercenaries loomed on the NATO border.
Putin has also started stationing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, according to the Kremlin.
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The news comes less than a month after the Wagner Group, led by oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, staged an abortive coup in Russia.
The June 23 and 24 mutiny saw fighters leave their posts in Ukraine before seizing a strategic city in southern Russia and then marching on Moscow.
The fighters halted just 120 miles outside of the capital after a deal between Prigozhin and Putin was reached which would see the Wagner boss and his men move to Belarus.
This week, a video of Prigozhin emerged ordering his men to train the Belarusian Army while they prepared for Wagner operations in Africa.
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