More than 30 fighters of a “foreign private military company”, whose detention was reported on Wednesday by the BELTA Belarusian state news agency, turned out to be Russians from Wagner Group, as reported by BELTA.
The detention of foreign militants was announced on the eve of the August 9 presidential election in Belarus. Earlier, the current head of state Alexander Lukashenko said at a meeting with security forces that his opponents could create “teams and groups of fighters who will possibly want to organize a massacre in the square.”
According to BELTA, newcomers drew attention to their behavior unusual for Russian tourists and uniform military-style clothing. They did not drink, and did not visit places of entertainment, they kept aloof, trying not to attract attention. They inspected the territory and surroundings of the sanatorium in small groups. Tonight, 32 people were detained by the KGB group A supported by Special Police Forces.
Citing law enforcement agencies, the agency said that initially, on the night of July 24-25, the Russians arrived in Minsk, where they stayed in one of the hotels, but on July 27 they moved to one of the sanatoriums near the Belarusian capital. It is especially noted that the law enforcement agencies had information about the arrival of more than 200 militants in Belarus “to destabilize the situation during the election campaign.”
However, only 33 people were detained – 32 in a sanatorium near Minsk and another one in the south of the state. A criminal charge has been launched against Russian citizens detained the day before near Minsk for plotting a terrorist attack.
On the evening of July 29, the Belarus 1 state channel released a footage in which it was stated that some detainees during interrogation reported their Russian citizenship and previous service in the Russian law enforcement agencies. “Wagner fighters” explained that this offer a possibility not to be prosecuted criminally or administratively, the channel reported.
Belarus has decided to strengthen the border regime to prevent destabilization of the situation, as the Belarusian Foreign Ministry announced on July 30.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has called the detention of “militants”, which became known on the eve of the August 9 elections, an emergency incident. He convened an emergency meeting with members of the Security Council and ordered to seek explanations from the Russian authorities.