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White House: Wagner Group poses no direct threat to NATO

by Martin Fornusek August 2, 2023 12:39 PM 1 min read
The joint training of Belarusian soldiers and the Wagner Group contractors, July 20, 2023. (Source: Belarusian Defense Ministry/Telegram)
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The Wagner Group fighters pose no direct threat to NATO, and those contractors who remain in Ukraine have no significant influence on the hostilities, the Voice of America reported on Aug. 1, citing U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby.

Kirby said that some Wagner fighters have moved to Africa in an attempt to "increase instability" in the countries of the continent. Others remain in Ukraine and some were deployed to Belarus, he added.

A number of contractors of Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner Group moved to Belarus at the invitation of the local authorities to provide training support to the Belarusian military.

Wagner mercenaries and Belarusian soldiers conducted joint exercises near the Polish border and Ukraine's National Resistance Center reported that the private military group is searching for new recruits in Belarus who are ready "to participate in hostilities on the territory of the countries neighboring Belarus, in particular, Poland and Lithuania."

The transfer of Wagner fighters set off alarm among NATO's eastern members, namely the Baltic countries and Poland. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on July 29 that the Wagner Group mercenaries could infiltrate Poland from Belarus, calling the Wagner Group's redeployment "a step towards a further hybrid attack on Polish territory."

According to Kirby, the U.S. is unaware of any concrete threats posed by the Wagner Group to Poland or other allies, but Washington is closely monitoring the situation.

He also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, which stipulates that an attack on one ally is an attack on all.

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