The foreign ministers of Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have demanded that Belarus expel Wagner Group mercenaries from its territory in a statement issued following their joint meeting on Monday in Warsaw.
“We are calling on the Belarusian regime to remove the Wagner Group from Belarus, transport all illegal migrants away from border-adjacent areas, and send them back to their countries of origin,” the statement reads.
The ministers noted that the four countries “have been facing unprecedented pressure caused by illegal migration” since mid-2021 which was created and backed by Belarus.
The statement also notes that the illegal migration path via Belarus is used by Russia to continue destabilising Poland and the Baltic States, along with the rest of the EU.
“We continue to jointly control the situation on the border with Belarus and Russia. We understand that these two countries can stage provocations on the border,” the ministers noted.
On 26 June, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the nation following the Wagner Group’s mutiny attempt. He offered a deal to the mercenaries to sign contracts with the Russian Defence Ministry, return to their relatives, or “retreat to Belarus”. Wagner fighters started arriving in Belarus in mid-July.
Alexander Lukashenko announced on 25 August that the Wagner Group will remain in Belarus despite the reports that the paramilitary group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and commander Dmitry Utkin died in a recent plane crash in Russia.
Latvia’s border guard service in August revealed that its officers had been recalled from their leaves in an effort to boost security on the Belarusian border. This decision was made as “the hybrid threat dramatically intensified” on the border with Belarus as well as over “the increased involvement of Belarusian state bodies in illegal immigrant flows”.