Alexander Lukashenko, the self-proclaimed president of Belarus, admitted to lying about the mercenaries of the Wagner group wanting to invade Poland.
Source: BelTA, a Belarusian news outlet, citing Lukashenko
Lukashenko claims he "joked" about the intentions of Russian mercenaries who moved to Belarus after the failed rebellion in the Russian Federation to go "on a tour to Rzeszów".
Quote: "I joked that the Wagner fighters were whispering to each other: we are going on a tour to Rzeszów. Why? Because the equipment and weapons were going from Rzeszów to where these Wagnerites were fighting near Bakhmut. Thousands of their boys died there. And they [Wagner Group fighters] will not forgive that," the self-proclaimed Belarusian president said.
Lukashenko believes that Polish authorities should thank him for the fact that "we invited these fighters to us [Belarus]". Lukashenko did not specify how many mercenaries are on the territory of Belarus, but, according to him, the Wagner Group allegedly has 30,000 militants under its control.
"Therefore, let them pray that we keep and provide for them. Otherwise, without us, they would have infiltrated and hit Rzeszów and Warsaw so there'd be hell to pay. Therefore, there is no need to blame me, they should thank me," Lukashenko says.
- At the end of July, Lukashenko said that the Wagner Private Military Company fighters are "stressing him out" because they want to attack Poland.
- Before that, Belarus announced the start of joint drills with the Wagner Group fighters at the Brest training ground, which is close to the Polish border. According to the State Border Service of Ukraine, approximately 5,000 Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Group had arrived in Belarus as of 22 July.
- Poland is said to be in talks with Latvia and Lithuania on how to respond to the presence of mercenaries, and the three countries may close their borders with Belarus if necessary.