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Putin Warns Poland Over Aggression Against Belarus

July 22, 2023

Vladimir Putin responded to Poland's and other EU nations' concerns about the stationing of Russian paramilitaries close to their borders by stating that Russia would use "all means at its disposal" to defend Belarus.

During a meeting of his security council, Putin made a number of aggressive statements, claiming without providing any evidence that Poland was planning to invade Belarus, a country that is an ally of Russia, and that their elites were "dreaming of Belarusian lands."

The Bretsky training facility in western Belarus, about six miles (10 km) from a border crossing with Poland, has started hosting training sessions for Belarusian soldiers by Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group.

Following a short-lived mutiny in which their leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, sent his heavily armed fighters on a "march of justice" toward Moscow, the Wagner fighters started pouring into Belarus in large numbers last week after the Kremlin reached an agreement with Prigozhin.

In response to the Wagner group's expanded presence in neighbouring Belarus, Poland's security committee announced on Friday that it would move troops eastward. According to the independent Belarusian Hajun project, about 2,500 Wagner mercenaries had entered the nation, many of them from bases in Ukraine.

Poland earlier this month said it would send up to 1,000 troops to defend the eastern borders of the country.

In Moscow, Putin launched an angry invective in response, claiming without evidence that Poland was seeking to annex territories in Belarus.

“Unleashing aggression against Belarus would mean aggression against the Russian Federation,” Putin said, according to the Kremlin. “And we will respond to it using all means at our disposal.”

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