About 5,000 Wagner Group mercenaries have been deployed to Belarus as of July 22, Andriy Demchenko, spokesperson for the State Border Guard Service (SBGS), told NV’s sister publication, Ukrainska Pravda.
"The situation along the border remains fully controlled by the border units and other components of the Armed Forces of our country," Ukrainska Pravda quoted Demchenko as saying.
"All of them have been warned about further risks that may come from the territory of Belarus, which, unfortunately, is under the influence of Russia and supports it in the war waged against Ukraine."
So far, the number of Russian mercenaries in Belarus poses no direct threat to Ukraine, however the Ukrainian Armed Forces should be prepared for any possible scenario, including preventing provocations on the border with Belarus, Demchenko stressed.
Wagner in Belarus: what we know
On June 24, the founder and leader of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, ended his one-day insurrection against Russian dictator Vladimir Putin after negotiations with Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. Putin presented the Wagner troops with three options as a result of the negotiations – one of which involved their deployment to Belarus.
Shortly after, reports emerged of camp constructions in Belarus intended to accommodate the Wagner mercenaries. Satellite images of a potential field camp were subsequently released. While Lukashenko denied the existence of any camps specifically for Wagner units, he mentioned that they would be “provided with accommodation” if necessary.
According to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Belarus has the capacity to host approximately 8,000 Wagner mercenaries. However, Ukrainian intelligence cautioned against premature conclusions regarding their deployment to that country.
Later, information surfaced suggesting that the Wagner mercenaries in Belarus would be involved in training Belarusian nationals for combat. This statement was supported by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and on July 12, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus confirmed negotiations regarding the training of Belarusian special forces.
Meanwhile, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine announced on July 14 that Russia had withdrawn nearly all of its military personnel from Belarus.
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