Putin warned Wagner mercenaries itching to go on tour to European capital

Vladimir Putin has been told the fearsome Wagner mercenaries want to "go on tour" to a major European capital.

The Wagner Group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, are currently in Belarus following their armed mutiny against the Russian regime last month.

It saw Prigozhin order his men to march toward Moscow, enraged at the Russian Defence Ministry's handling of the war in Ukraine. A deal was struck before they reached the Russian capital, with Wagner fighters and Prigozhin relocating to Belarus.

READ MORE: Wagner commander admits rebels 'didn't have a clue' during armed mutiny against Putin

Putin met with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday (July 23) and was warned the Wagner mercenaries are now itching to march on Poland.

In a video translated on Twitter by Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine's Minister of Internal Affairs, Lukashenko told Putin the Polish capital Warsaw and key military hub Rzeszow are their targets.

Lukashenko said: ""We began to be bothered by the PMC Wagner, asking to go to the West. 'Allow us?' I said, why do you want to go to the West there? And quietly, we're in control of what is happening: 'Well, we'll go on a tour to Warsaw and Rzeszow.'"

Wagner's presence in Belarus has been of great concern to Poland, who recently moved troops near its Belarusian border fearing the mercenaries could attempt to seize the strategically important Suwalki Gap that connects the Baltic states to the rest of Europe.

Luckily, it doesn't appear as if Lukashenko is willing to allow them to roam across the border.

He continued telling Putin: "Of course I keep them in the centre of Belarus as agreed… I wouldn't want to redeploy them there, because they're in a bad mood."

Javed Ali, a professor specialising in international policy at the University of Michigan, told Newsweek Lukashenko's remarks are likely a veiled but "empty threat" to NATO and the West.

The comment "falls in line with other bombastic rhetoric from President Putin during the Ukraine conflict about other attacks and threats that never materialised," Ali said.

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