Following the news of the crash of Prigozhin’s plane, which was carrying Wagner’s commander, the Belarusian underground announced that the closure of some of the group camps had already taken place in Belarus on Wednesday evening, Agnė Liubertaitė is writing at the lrytas.lt news portal.
The mercenaries‘ vehicles are believed to be moving towards the Russian border, and the Belarusian special services are trying to prevent them from leaving.
The mercenaries themselves are also reportedly talking about repeating Prigozhin‘s rebellion again.
The Lithuanian services are closely monitoring the situation, but so far, according to them, the situation is calm on the Lithuanian side.
Giedrius Mišutis, a spokesman for the State Border Guard Service (SBGS), told lrytas.lt that there is no need for Lithuania to take additional security measures because of the remaining Wagner mercenaries in Belarus.
“There are no movements or signs of unrest on our border. Even now, there is a relative calm compared to the same Poles or Latvians, where record numbers of illegal migrants have been recorded for the third day. There is no such information that new threats are emerging at the moment.
In this situation, where the border protection has been reinforced to the maximum several times, where there are interactions, plans, and algorithms with other agencies, where there is assistance, the high level of vigilance and the high level of border protection is fully in line with the available information on what threats there should be,” commented Mr Mišutis.
However, border guards and other services are monitoring the situation closely.
“Of course, the information is being monitored and analysed, and action would certainly be taken if necessary. But for the time being, the reinforced high level of border control and surveillance is certainly sufficient for the moment,” the representative of the SBGS noted.
L.Kasčiūnas: Their thoughts are elsewhere
Laurynas Kasčiūnas, chairman of the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defence (NSDC), also stressed that there was no additional threat to Lithuania at the moment, but the threat of provocations had not disappeared either.
“I think that without a decision-making centre, without a clear chain of action, it is unlikely to expect any serious organisational decisions against NATO countries today. Maybe even less likely than it was before.
And individual groups, islets trying to look for something, to test something, should not be ruled out because the possibility of hybridity and lower intensity provocations remains, but let’s realise that you can’t carry out some kind of operations if you are in chaos yourself”, – said the chairman of the NSDC to the lrytas.lt portal.
According to Kasčiūnas, the headless military grouping probably now has to think about its continued existence and not about provocations against NATO countries.
“I think their thoughts are elsewhere now – they are worried about their future, about who will lead them, who will try to take over that leadership. Maybe there will be infighting for that leadership, or maybe Putin will try to impose his man on Wagner for control.
I do not think that their thoughts now are about testing NATO. Their thoughts now are about internal struggles, internal transformation and internal nuances”, the MP stressed.
“There is a cover plan, and two points have been closed. The algorithms are clear: who reacts, when they react when the border guards get the support of Aro, and when they get the support of the army. Everything is in place”, Kasčiūnas added, referring to the security situation in Lithuania.
However, the politician said that what happened to Mr Prigozhin on Wednesday “did not really surprise anyone”.
Gaižauskas: the hornet’s nest is even more irritated
For his part, Dainius Gaižauskas, a member of the NSDC and a peasant, said that he had watched the events until dawn. He believes that the Wagner group is unpredictable at the moment, although it is certainly not the biggest threat to Lithuania or to neighbouring NATO countries.
“If it is already being said publicly that there will be retaliatory actions, it shows that the hornet’s nest is even more irritated. This means that they are completely unpredictable”, said Gaižauskas.
According to the peasant, the issue of Prigozhin and Wagner, as well as the security aspect of Lithuania’s security, is to be discussed at the next meeting of the NSDC.
“However, this is a criminal organisation, and we have recognised it as a terrorist organisation. Invariably, the assassination of leaders triggers revenge actions.
The point is that if it is Russia – and it seems to be the case – their actions should be directed towards that side. Perhaps Putin, perhaps Gerasimov, perhaps Shoigu or his family, there could be even more turmoil inside.
They are out of control in Belarus, so it is not clear what they can come up with. But it is a fact that they are even more irritated,” Gaižauskas noted.
According to the NSDC member, a great deal of uncertainty is to be expected now.
“The threats are not that they have increased, but they have even become more acute. In my opinion, if it is Putin’s government, the greater threat should be directed at the Russian leadership, but when they are out of control, the threat is to everybody because there is no one who is mobilising them and no one who is leading them.
They can split into many groups, and now Wagner could be made up of many criminal armed groups,” Gaižauskas noted.
As previously reported, an Embraer Legacy 600 private jet belonging to Mr Prigozhin crashed on Wednesday in Russia’s Tver region.