Presidential aide warns of attempts by Russia, Belarus to destabilise Poland ahead of elections

A senior Polish presidential official has warned that his country must guard against attempts by Russia and Belarus to undermine its security in the run-up to parliamentary elections on October 15.

Marcin Przydacz, top foreign-policy aide to Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Marcin Przydacz, top foreign-policy aide to Polish President Andrzej Duda.PAP/Marian Zubrzycki

Marcin Przydacz made the comment in a media interview on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Przydacz, who is a top foreign policy aide to Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, referred to a recent statement by Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR). 

Yusov said on Monday that Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries currently stationed in Belarus “could be used for staging provocations on the borders with Poland and the Baltic states,” according to Ukraine’s state news agency Ukrinform.

Yusov added that the Wagner troops based in Belarus “do not pose a real military threat” to these countries.

In an interview with private broadcaster Radio Zet on Thursday, Poland’s Przydacz commented: “The presence of criminals, the Wagner Group mercenaries, represents a threat to the security and stability of the whole region.”

Przydacz said that Wagner fighters were “former criminals recruited in prisons … totally loyal to their commanders.”

He added that the fighters would either “obey orders if given orders,” or otherwise be difficult to control, “being criminals.”

Poland 'must be on alert’

Przydacz told Radio Zet that this means “the threat in Belarus, and to Belarus’ neighbours, is real, as confirmed by the US embassy’s appeal to Americans to leave Belarus, and the decisions by Latvia and Lithuania to close their border crossings with Belarus.”

He noted that “Poland has practically closed its border with Belarus,” except one crossing for cargo transport.

Przydacz cautioned, however, that Poland “must be on alert, especially in view of the election campaign,” as Poles prepare to elect a new parliament on October 15.

The Polish presidential aide said: “In every democracy, it’s a vulnerable moment when emotions rise. Russia and Belarus will be definitely watching and seeking to undermine our sense of security,” the PAP news agency reported.

Poland’s lawmakers this month approved a government plan to combine parliamentary elections on October 15 with a nationwide referendum on issues including illegal migration.

In the parliamentary elections, Poles will head to the ballot box to elect 460 new MPs and 100 senators for a four-year term.

The ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party has maintained a clear lead over the opposition in most recent surveys, polling ahead of the centrist Civic Coalition (KO) and the far-right Confederation group.

The ruling conservatives in 2019 won a convincing victory over opposition parties at the ballot box, securing a second term in power.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAPRadio Zet 

Radio Poland

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