A former Russian MP has warned that the risk of Wagner fighters carrying out operations in Poland is “quite real” which will spark a crisis for NATO.
Russian-Ukrainian politician Ilya Ponomarev has said that the stage has been set for attacks inside Poland and possibly Lithuania by Wagner mercenaries.
Yevgeny Prigozhin who is Wagner chief is not a state actor and since the short lived rebellion in Moscow the group have allegedly separated from the Kremlin.
This means that if Wagner fighters do attack Poland then NATO’s Article 5 cannot triggered which will cause a major crisis for the alliance, which could well be a cooked up plan between Prigozhin and Vladimir Putin, although there is no evidence of this.
Read more on Russia-Ukraine war:
Another armed rebellion in Russia is ‘not far off’ as the ‘growth of dissatisfied’ Russians is rising
Ponomarev believes that the Wagner chief is still a “trusted person” by Putin who “is not questioning his personal loyalty.”
Ponomarev told Express.co.uk, “The main reason to be bothered by this ‘quite real’ possibility is the fact that Wagner now has perfectly distanced itself from the Kremlin.
“There were deliberate ‘leaks’ that its commanders were offered to join the Russian military and that they refused; Lukashenko was also complaining in public that they are unmanageable.
“That’s all part of the preparations if the decision to attack will actually be taken.”
Ponomarev added, “I think that Putin’s idea is to attack the Suwałki Gap, so that Lithuania and Poland will call for Article 5 but the Western countries will point out that Wagner is not a state actor and turn the request down. And this fact will trigger a major crisis in NATO.
“Wagner does not need to hold the position for long – just enough time to provoke the scandal.”
Thousands of Wagner mercenaries are stationed at the polish border which has created an “extremely dangerous” situation on the eastern flank.
Poland is on full alert and has sent attack helicopters to the Belarusian border over concerns there could be a full invasion.
Marek Sokolowski, deputy commander of the Polish Armed Forces, said on Friday, “They are very experienced. If something disturbing happens, they will not hesitate to use weapons.”