Belarusian law enforcement officers detained 32 militants of the Wagner foreign private military company near Minsk this night. One more person was apprehended in the country’s south, a state-owned media source reports.
With reference to law enforcement agencies, it was reported that “more than 200 militants had arrived in Belarus to destabilize the situation during the election campaign. Every Russian militant carried a small hand luggage, and three large heavy suitcases that several men loaded into a vehicle.
Upon arrival in the capital on the night of July 24-25, the group checked into one of the hotels in Minsk and was supposed to check out on 25 July, but left the hotel on 27 July and moved to one of the sanatoriums in Minsk district.”
According to the management of the sanatorium, the guests drew attention by untypical for Russian tourists behaviour and wearing similar military-style clothing.
“They did not drink alcohol, did not visit entertainment venues, kept to themselves and tried not to draw attention. Operating in small groups, they thoroughly examined the territory of the sanatorium and the surroundings.
This night 32 people were detained by the A team of the State Security Committee (KGB) with assistance of the Minsk City Police Department’s SWAT teams. Besides, another person was detected and detaimed in the country’s south. The Investigative Committee is examining the desinated individuals.”
Footage of the arrest of the alleged military contractors was broadcast on the state TV channel Belarus 1. Several Russian passports that allegedly belong to the detained men, dollars, packets of condoms and pieces of paper with Arabic script were shown.
What exactly the militants were planning to do in Belarus is unclear. All the detainees are Russians citizens, 14 of them are in the Myrotvorets database as participants in military actions in Donbass, Ukraine. The whereabouts of 160 other militants is unknown.
Shortly after the detention, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko called an urgent meeting of the Security Council to discuss the situation.
He said: “I’ve been looking at how the Russians react to this. As they make excuses, they say as if it was us who have brought them here. It is clear that they need to justify their dirty intentions somehow.
This is why I would like to ask you that everything must be extremely transparent and honest in this situation. If those are Russian citizens (as far as I can understand they’ve been questioned), then we should immediately contact the relevant authorities of the Russian Federation so that they can explain what’s going on.”
State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus Andrei Ravkov said that a series of measures will be taken in response to the detention of foreign miltants in Belarus. The State Border Committee will strengthen border security, including the Belarusian-Russian border.
Also, Belarusians should expect the strengthening of security measures during mass events, including those related to the election campaign. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry will invite the ambassadors of Russia and Ukraine to the country.
Several days ago, President Alexander Lukashenko hinted that foreign powers could organise Maidan riots in Belarus. Suspicious “militants” conviently appeared in Belarus in the past, usually ahead of protests and elections, TUT.BY recalled.
Belarus is set to hold presidential elections on 9 August.