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Belarus. The Wagnerians are leaving the country

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Only a few dozen mercenaries of the Wagner group remained in Belarus, and after the rebellion and death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, they moved to this country en masse – reported the Russian independent television Nastoyashchee Vremya. Why?

After Yevgeny Prigozhin's failed rebellion in the Rostov Oblast in June 2023 Several thousand mercenaries of the Wagner group went to Belarus. What were they doing there and where are they now? At the end of June last year, a field camp for Wagnerites was quickly established in the village of Cel in the Mogilev region. Currently, there is neither a camp nor mercenaries there – the station reports in Saturday's material.

According to estimates by the Belarusian opposition, there could have been about eight thousand Wagnerians in the field camp in the village of Cel (there is a military unit nearby – ed.). They were mainly supposed to train Belarusian soldiers and law enforcement officers, giving them “combat experience” gained, among others, at war in neighboring Ukraine.

READ: The African Empire of the Wagnerites. Who will take over Prigozhin's legacy?

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After Prigozhin's death

The number of mercenaries in Belarus decreased significantly after the sudden death of the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who – in unclear circumstances – died in a plane crash. Exactly two months after the rebellion, an Embraer flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg with Prigozhin on board went down in the Tver Oblast. Also on board the private jet was Dmitry Utkin, the formation's commander, using the pseudonym “Wagner” (hence the name Wagner Group).

Services at the site of the crash of Prigozhin's planeReuters Archive

Uladzimir Zhihar from the Belarusian organization BELPOL, which brings together former militia officers, told Nastoyashchee Vremya television that there are “no more than 20 (Wagnerists)” left in the country and that they are mainly engaged in training militiamen.

– They conduct some exercises and training, but their number is constantly decreasing. From what we know, they are being deported or leaving for Africa on their own, Żyhar added.

Photo released by the Belarusian Ministry of Defense in July last year. It is intended to present the training of the Belarusian army by the Wagnerians twitter.com/MOD_BY

Wagnerians in Belarus. Photo released by the Belarusian Ministry of Defense in July last yeartwitter.com/MOD_BY

The Wagnerians are leaving Belarus

According to Radio Svoboda commentator and well-known political scientist Valer Karbalevich, the deployment of mercenaries in Belarus was a temporary solution to the conflict between President Vladimir Putin and Yevgeny Prigozhin, and Alexander Lukashenko used it for his own purposes.

– Lukashenko came up with a version that the Wagnerians wanted to “take a trip” to Poland, but he “would not let them go.” It was a mechanism of pressure and blackmail on the neighbors: Lithuanians and Poles – added Karbalewicz.

– The Wagnerians have nothing to look for in Belarus. No one was going to pay them the money they received in Russia. There are very few of them left, several dozen people who probably have nowhere to go, said the political scientist.

The Wagnerians visit the grave of Yevgeny Prigozhin at the cemetery in St. Petersburg

The Wagnerians visit the grave of their boss Yevgeny Prigozhin at the cemetery in St. Petersburg Reuters Archive

End of the story

The history of the Wagner Group mercenaries in Belarus – according to the interlocutors of the Nastoyashchee Vremya television – has come to an end and they have not played any particular influence in this country.

– There was no major contact between the so-called Belarusian power structures and the Wagnerites, because they are people of a completely different nature, said Zhihar, noting that the Wagnerites were primarily interested in making money, and not in what interested Lukashenko.

The mercenaries who remained in Belarus join subunits of the local Ministry of Internal Affairs, not the Ministry of Defense, and the main task of the Belarusian militia is currently to fight the opposition and dissent, comments Nastoyashchee Vremya television.

The Belarusian Hajun Channel wrote on Saturday that Wagner Group mercenaries continue to work with soldiers of the Belarusian Internal Troops (Ministry of Internal Affairs) and army, although “this is not officially confirmed.” He also gave examples of classes conducted by mercenaries in April at the Obóz-Lesnowski and Osipowicze training grounds.

Nastoyashchee Vremya, PAP

Main photo source: twitter.com/MOD_BY

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