Russia says Poland plans to send troops to Ukraine

Russia says Poland is considering establishing control over Ukraine’s western region through the deployment of troops there.

According to the Sputnik┬ánews agency, Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Sergei Naryshkin said today that Poland is about to realize that it is only a matter of time before Ukraine “fails” in the current conflict.

“The Polish leadership is promoting the mindset of controlling the western territories of Ukraine by deploying their troops there,” Naryshkin said during a meeting hosted by President Vladimir Putin with members of Russia’s Security Council.

President Putin has instructed the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service to monitor Polish plans for Ukraine.

Putin stressed that Polish leaders plan to form an alliance “under the guise” of NATO and intervene in the conflict in Ukraine to regain their historic territories.

“As for the Polish leaders, they can expect to form an alliance within NATO and directly intervene in the conflict in Ukraine to then win a larger land, regain their historic territory – western Ukraine today,” Putin said.

The same day, PAP news agency quoted the head of Poland’s security service Zbigniew Hoffmann as saying that Poland will move military units to the east of the country to deal with potential threats from fighters of the Russian private military corporation Wagner, which is stationed in neighboring Belarus.

Mr. Hoffmann said that the decision was made by Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak after analyzing “the possible threats posed by the presence of the Wagner group in Belarus”.

However, Mr. Hoffmann did not provide more details about the Polish troop movement.

“The joint training or exercise of the Belarusian army and the Wagner corporation is certainly a provocation,” the Polish official stressed.

After the failed uprising in Russia late last month, Wagner reached an agreement for the military group to move to Belarus. On July 11, the Belarusian Defense Ministry announced that, when Wagner arrives and deploys training forces and exchanges experiences, Minsk will pay special attention to sharing techniques and methods of combat that the Belarusian armed forces are using. 

Earlier this month, President Lukashenko said that Minsk had offered Wagner the use of some of its former Soviet-era military garrisons, including one at Osipovichy, about 200km from the Ukrainian border.

Immediately after the Wagner move to Belarus was revealed, NATO countries expressed concern about the risk of new instability in the region. Polish authorities announced that they will deploy 500 more police to increase security on the border with Belarus.

Poland has been one of the major donors to Kiev since the Russia-Ukraine conflict broke out more than a year ago. Poland has become a major hub for the delivery of Western military aid to Ukraine. Poland is also the first NATO member to announce the delivery of MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.

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