March 5. 2024. 2:50

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Wagner may test West’s response by attacking Baltics – Lithuanian president’s aide

Russia’s mercenary group Wagner may try to test Western defence mechanisms by attacking the Baltic states, Kęstutis Budrys, President Gitlabellinganas Nausėda’s chief national security advisor, said.

Wagner Group is a Russian paramilitary organisation that has also been called the de facto private military of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The company operates outside the confines of the law, as such entities are technically illegal in Russia.

It has a presence across Africa, particularly in countries involved in internal or regional strife, and a rumoured presence in the Western Balkans. The Wagner mercenary group has also been involved in the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The founder and owner of Wagner is Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close confidant of Putin.

Western countries have raised concerns over the growing influence of the group in Africa after the deployment of mercenaries in Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, and Mali. Kosovo’s Foreign Minister also recently claimed that Wagner operatives were present on the border with Serbia, hinting they were involved in recent unrest between Serbia and Kosovo.

Responding to Budry’s comments, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that there’s no intelligence data on a possible Russian attack.

“We don’t have data that would allow us to say that Lithuania is in any danger. When reading this, people should understand that there’s no direct threat to Lithuania at the border at the moment,” Landsbergis told reporters in Brussels on Monday.

However, he noted that the danger remains real because the situation may change.