RIGA - With more fighters of the Russian military mercenary group Wagner entering Belarus, NATO countries in the region have reason to expect more significant provocations on the borders, where the pressure of illegal migrants has been maintained for a long time, Juris Maklakovs, former commander of the Latvian National Armed Forces (NAF), told Latvian Television this morning.
The expert thinks that the Wagner units from Russia have been sent to Belarus for a purpose and "will have to pay some kind of ransom price" for the military mutiny in Russia, and that more significant provocations on the borders can be expected in the region.
Maklakovs is confident that the situation will not escalate to the point where members of this militia attempt to enter a NATO country. "I don't think that these actions will be that strong", the expert said, explaining that some "testing, checking, disturbing" of border guards is more to be expected, as the overall size of the Wagner force is relatively small.
The former head of the NAF stressed that the Latvian Armed Forces are ready for national defense in any case.
On the Ukrainian front, the expert noted that the Ukrainian counter-offensive is not moving as fast as many would like, as the Russians have managed to establish strong lines of defense. But Ukraine is and will continue to make progress, Maklakovs added.
He noted that the Russian forces, which are now basically on the defense, are large and the Ukrainians need time and resources to overcome them, including aircraft and sufficient ammunition.
The expert added that with autumn, advances will be even more difficult, so that the remaining time for more active attacks this year is August, September and perhaps October, after which hostilities directly on the battlefield will cease.