Belarus police arrest ‘Russian mercenaries’ on state TV
Perhaps we went to Sudan. What is behind the arrest of Wagner PMC fighters in Belarus
It is alleged that 32 of them were detained near Minsk and one more – in the south of the country
The Belarusian state news agency BelTA informs that on the night of July 29, law enforcement officers detained more than 30 Russian citizens. It is alleged that these are the fighters of the so-called PMC Wagner.
The agency first published a message that the fighters were detained "foreign PMC", and two hours later clarified that we were talking about citizens of Russia.
It is alleged that 32 of them were detained near Minsk and one more – in the south of the country. Provides a list of Russian citizens allegedly detained, with names and dates of birth..
"Information was received about the arrival of more than 200 militants on our territory to destabilize the situation during the election campaign, – quoted by the message from the law enforcement agency. A group of Russians settled on July 27 in one of the sanatoriums near Minsk. – According to the administration of the sanatorium, the visitors drew attention to their behavior, uncharacteristic for Russian tourists, and uniform military-style clothing. They did not drink alcohol, did not visit entertainment establishments, kept themselves apart, trying not to attract attention to themselves". As a result, they were detained by special forces, in their relation "being checked". On the basis of which it was concluded that these are fighters precisely "PMC Wagner", does not follow from the statement.
Belarusian television published a video allegedly of an operation to detain PMC fighters.
Among the people whose names are listed by the Belarusian agency, more than 10 are included in the list of the Ukrainian site "Peacemaker" as participants in the hostilities in Donbass on the side of the Russian-backed separatists. Writer Zakhar Prilepin, who fought on the side of the separatists in the past "DPR", confirmed that among the detainees were several people from his so-called battalion.
Russian war correspondent Semyon Pegov, covering, among other things, the activities of Russian mercenaries abroad, expressed the version that the fighters "PMC Wagner" used Minsk in the context of the coronavirus epidemic as a transit point for transportation to the countries of Asia and Africa. The Belarusian authorities allegedly turned a blind eye to these eyes, but before the elections they decided to take advantage of this fact in their own interests.. "Now the main question – Why was there now to stick a knife in the back of a neighbor? From the point of view of the special services – it’s not like a kid at all. The guys were in shape – because they did not expect a blow from their own and their destination was by no means Minsk", – Pegov writes.
Russian officials have not yet commented on the detention of Russian citizens.
Presidential elections are coming up on August 9 in Belarus. President Alexander Lukashenko, who is running for a sixth term, has repeatedly announced some foreign forces that are trying to interfere in the elections, including Russian ones. On Friday, when visiting a special forces brigade, Lukashenko, in particular, mentioned the PMC: "All sorts of wars now begin with street protests, demonstrations, then Maidans", to participate in which, according to Lukashenka, "professional military, gangsters who are specially trained, mainly within PMCs around the world".
Recently, it has been repeatedly mentioned about the activities of Russian PMCs (which, according to the law, do not officially exist in Russia) in a number of regions of the world. Best known "PMC Wagner", whose fighters, according to numerous testimonies, fought in Ukraine, Syria and Libya. According to numerous reports, it is financed by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as "Putin’s chef".
Turkey officially blamed "PMC Wagner" in participation in hostilities in Libya.
Lukashenko is opposed in the elections, in particular, by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, whose headquarters have united with the headquarters of two unregistered opposition candidates. Rallies with her participation gather hundreds and thousands of people across the country..
Lukashenko claimed, in particular, that a number of Russian structures support Viktor Babariko in the elections. – the former head of Belgazprombank. During the election campaign, he was arrested, he was not allowed to participate in the elections. The headquarters of Babariko merged with the headquarters of Tikhanovskaya.
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