US responds to Lukashenko’s remarks about Wagner forces wanting ‘an excursion’ to Poland
A spokesman for the US State Department has said that America “will defend every inch of NATO territory” after the Belarusian president suggested that the Wagner Group mercenaries stationed in his country wanted to make an “excursion” to the Polish cities Warsaw and Rzeszów.
The headquarters of the US State Department in Washington, DC.AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Matthew Miller made the comment at a press briefing on Monday night, private broadcaster Polsat News reported.
The State Department spokesman was referring to the words of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who said on Saturday: “The Wagner guys have started to stress us. They want to go west.”
Speaking during a meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, Lukashenko added that the Wagner troops wanted to make an “excursion” to the Polish capital Warsaw and the southeastern city of Rzeszów, Polsat News reported.
Rzeszów has acted as a hub for arms deliveries to Ukrainian forces, with whom the Wagner mercenaries had fought for the eastern city of Bakhmut, as part of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Asked by reporters if the US should be worried about Lukashenko’s remarks, the spokesman for the US State Department responded: “I don’t know how much you should read into them. I would say that there is only one country in the region that has demonstrated the – not only the intent but the willingness to invade its neighbors, and that’s Russia, not Poland, not any other country in the region.”
Matthew Miller added: “ And so, I would just reiterate that our alliance with Poland is strong. Poland is a NATO member, of course, and we will defend, if necessary, every inch of NATO territory.”
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.