Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko warned that Wagner soldiers were trying to “visit” Poland, which is believed to be a hub for Western weapons to enter Ukraine.
“Wagner soldiers started to make us nervous. They wanted to go to the West and say let’s go to Warsaw and Rzeszow,” Belarusian President Lukashenko said during a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on July 23.
He explained that the Wagner private military force believes that Warsaw and Rzeszow are the clues to bring Western weapons into the Ukrainian battlefield.
“They know where the weapons to support the Ukrainian army in the fighting in Bakhmut come from. So they see Rzeszow as trouble,” Lukashenko said.
The Belarusian leader added that Wagner members know what is happening around Russia and Belarus. As a result, he doesn’t want them to move somewhere far from the center of the country, especially when they’re in a “bad mood”.
Mr. Lukashenko’s comments are said to be a warning to neighboring Poland.
Earlier, Putin accused Polish officials of planning to form a NATO-backed alliance to intervene directly in the Ukrainian conflict, take over western Ukraine and threaten Belarus. However, Poland has denied the allegation.
Belarus is an ally of Russia, sharing borders with both Ukraine and Poland. Belarus has agreed to take over Wagner’s private military force, as part of a deal to end Wagner’s armed rebellion in Russia on June 24.
According to the independent military news site Belaruski Hajun, by the end of this week, 10 Wagner convoys had arrived in Belarus, carrying soldiers and weapons to an abandoned military base in Belarus.
Putin said Ukraine’s counterattack failed
At a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart, President Putin mentioned Ukraine’s counter-offensive campaign. “There was no real counter-attack. It existed, but it failed,” he said.
The Kremlin owner said that Russia destroyed a large number of Ukrainian armored vehicles with Western aid. For example, in the past 24 hours, the Russian military destroyed at least 15 German-made Leopard tanks and more than 20 American-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicles.
According to Putin, during the counter-offensive campaign that began in early June, Ukraine lost more than 26,000 soldiers. He also said that mercenaries in Ukraine also suffered heavy losses. Last week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also said that Russia had destroyed more than 3,000 Ukrainian military equipment.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials acknowledged that the speed of the counter-attack was slower than expected, but that the Ukrainian army continued to make strides to weaken Russia’s defenses and regain territory.
Western analysts believe that the military situation will change significantly in the near future when Ukraine launches the most elite brigades equipped with modern Western weapons into the battlefield.