Detention of Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries in Minsk might speak for the Kremlin’s plans to roil in Belarus. This scenario suggests a bloody massacre of the local opposition amid riots staged by Belarus’s security agencies, followed by escalation and Russian troops’ putting boots on the ground as peacekeepers.
Belarus’s security forces detained 33 Russia’s Wagner private military company fighters, accommodated at Belorusochka sanitarium on the bank of the Drozdy reservoir near Minsk. The detention took place just 2 weeks prior to the presidential elections in the country.
As much as 200 mercenaries, the law enforcement agencies claim, have arrived in Belarus to “roil the election campaign”. They are Russia’s citizens. Everyone carried a small hand luggage. They all had three large and heavy suitcases.
Belarus 1 TV showed Russian passports of mercenaries
Screenshots from the video with Russian passports of mercenaries
Russian Telegram channels affiliated with the Kremlin have been trying throughout the day to blast the information that the people detained belonged to Wagner PMC and had to perform their mission within the territory of Belarus. They argue that these people used Belarus as a hub to redeploy to third countries, Sudan among them.
The video shown by Belarusian television confirms this story implicitly. Among the items documented during the arrest there is indeed a paper in Arabic, a shemagh scarf and a mobile phone payment card depicting the Khatmiya mosque in the city of Kassala. Moreover, a 20 Sudanese pound banknote is visible on the detention footage.
Forgiveness pray text. Belarus TV.
Russia’s Wagner PMC provided military assistance for the Sudanese Special Forces (NISS) and intelligence forces involved in putting down the opposition protests in Sudan. This mission by Wagner Group mercenaries in Sudan might explain their presence in Belarus.
The mercenaries arrested might have really operated in Sudan, but they were transferred to Belarus before their arrest, and were not waiting for being sent to Sudan.
The mercenaries could hardly have purchased mobile top-up cards from a Sudanese operator in Russia. Thus, these cards could have been purchased in Sudan and the mercenaries had them as they had not been used.
Sudanese mobile top-up cards.
The main route to move Wagner PMC mercenaries, including to Sudan, passes through Syria (Damascus), where mercenaries are delivered at by military transport aircraft or special flights by Russia’s Defense Ministry or ChamWings, the Syrian airline. Therefore, the scenario of using the Minsk airport as a hub to transfer the mercenaries does not hold water.
The presence of Ukrainian citizens among those arrested in Belarus stems from the fact that the unrecognized DPR and LPR are a recruiting base for Wagner PMC, as the economy in Donbas, occupied by Russia, narrows the possibilities for job search by service in paramilitary groups. During the GNA counter-offensive in Libya, one of the killed Wagner Group mercenaries, who fought on the side of Field Marshal Haftar, was found with the documents that testified he had belonged to the territories controlled by the Russians in Ukraine. A significant part of those arrested in Minsk took part in the war in Ukraine.
Some of the mercenaries are snipers. Consequently, the group in Belarus might have had a mission to foul up in the protests by sniper fire at the opposition, staging the actions by the law enforcement agencies of Belarus. Acts of violence expected from the Lukashenko regime make it possible for the Kremlin to shape its own scenario enabling to neutralize the Lukashenko regime under color of bringing repressions against the population of Belarus to a halt.
Consequently, nearly 200 Wagner Group fighters, specialized in quelling protests in Sudan, present – that is quite enough to implement a scenario likely to end with an appeal by an initiative group of citizens to Russia to send troops to the union state. The Wagner Group, unlike Russia’s standing army, can commit war crimes without the risks for the Russian military to be blamed on, one of the IGTDS reports argued.
Investigation source: IGTDS.
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