September 27, 2023

The Belarusian Protection Ministry stated on Thursday that mercenaries from the Wagner group have been coaching troops on the border with Poland for every week, and the announcement is prone to heighten tensions in an space the place fears of battle are already excessive.

The destiny of the Wagner Group, which was some of the combat-ready models to combat for Russia in Ukraine, and its pugnacious chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, has been shrouded in thriller for the reason that Russian rebellion was crushed late final month. As a part of a deal to finish the rebellion, the President of Belarus supplied Mr. Prigozhin and his troops exile into exile, however their whereabouts have been typically unclear.

Satellite tv for pc imagery this week confirmed {that a} convoy of Wagner fighters had arrived at a quickly assembled camp within the Belarusian city of Osipovichi. On Wednesday, at the least three Wagner-linked Telegram channels posted a video of a person whose silhouette and voice strikingly resembles Mr. Prigozhin greeting a whole lot of Wagner fighters in a camp.

Based on an announcement from Belarus on Thursday, the nation’s particular forces models have been conducting joint coaching with Wagner representatives at a army coaching floor close to town of Brest for every week now. It is simply three miles from Belarus’ border with NATO member Poland, and about 20 miles north of the nation’s border with Ukraine.

The ministry additionally launched photographs exhibiting Wagner fighter jets coaching Belarusian troops to fly drones and armored automobiles.

Polish officers didn’t instantly touch upon the protection ministry’s assertion, however President Andrzej Duda warned that the presence of the Wagner group in Belarus might “pose a possible hazard” to his nation and to Lithuania, which additionally shares a border with Belarus.

Ukrainian officers have tried to allay considerations about Wagner forces in Belarus whereas saying the nation’s forces are prepared for any potential risk from its northern neighbor.

After the Wagner rebellion, President Vladimir V. Putin supplied mercenary fighters contracts with the Russian Protection Ministry in an obvious try to sideline Mr. Prigozhin. Those that selected to not come below the management of the ministry have moved to Belarus and appear to proceed to treat Mr. Prigozhin as their chief.

In a twilight video launched on Wednesday, a determine believed to be Mr. Prigozhin introduced that Wagner fighters would stay in Belarus for some time to coach its military with the purpose of constructing it the second-best military on the planet.

He didn’t soften his frequent criticism of the Russian excessive command, calling the scenario on the entrance line in Ukraine a “disgrace” by which the “Wagnerites” “shouldn’t take part.” He additionally left open the chance that Wagner’s forces would return to fight in Ukraine.

“We have to look forward to the second after we can specific ourselves to the fullest,” says the person within the video, his face is hidden all through. “Maybe we’ll return to a particular army operation, until we’re made to disgrace ourselves and our expertise,” he stated, referring to the Russian battle in Ukraine.

On Thursday, a senior Wagner commander, identified by the callsign “Marks” and recognized as Wagner’s chief of workers, stated in a message on the Wagner-linked Telegram channel that the group had misplaced 22,000 fighters in Ukraine and one other 40,000 have been wounded out of the 78,000 who participated within the battle. He stated that as much as 10,000 persons are shifting to Belarus. These figures couldn’t be verified.

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