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Wagner in Belarus

The Wagner Group in Belarus may become the source of a hybrid threat to Europe

The mercenaries of the Wagner Group have redeployed to the territory of Belarus – the decision was made shortly after their failed campaign against Moscow. Contrary to the announced plan of their further deployment to Africa, which may still take place after further preparation, it is obvious that Putin has created a new hybrid threat to Europe – this time right on its eastern border. Well-armed and trained mercenaries with combat experience can endlessly terrorise the territories of Lithuania, Latvia, even Poland bordering Belarus. This is a new challenge for Europe, which requires an immediate response, IFBG, Dispatches.

A new camp for the mercenary forces of the Wagner Group for 8,000 people was built near the town of Osipovichi in central Belarus. More than 2 thousand mercenaries are already on the territory of the republic, and the search for new recruits is ongoing. Obviously, this decision hides the Kremlin’s desire to prepare a new hybrid threat to Europe – the mercenaries of the Wagner Group with the help of small sabotage and reconnaissance forces can make breakthroughs into the territory of the EU countries neighbouring Belarus, as well as into Ukraine. Only unlike Russia, which is used to waging a continuous war, it will be hard for Lithuania or Latvia to resist Russian mercenaries. Moreover, in this case the application of Article 5 of the NATO Charter will be in question – the Wagnerians do not belong to the regular army of the Russian Federation, although they clearly take orders from Russia. This is an asymmetric threat, which threatens a surge of terror and violence in the countries bordering Belarus and Russia.

Russian PMCs have become a peculiar military phenomenon and present a scaled hybrid threat that has come right up to NATO’s borders. The Alliance must respond to this challenge and take appropriate action. NATO troop deployments should be increased in countries with the highest risk of invasion by subversive groups of Russian mercenaries. Ukraine, which has practical experience of fighting with the Wagnerites, should be given the necessary weapons – the Kremlin seeks to mislead the whole world once again by feinting that trained mercenaries will be deployed to Africa. But in reality, their destination may well be Ukraine and Europe.


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