The Belarusian Armed Forces have been placed on full combat readiness, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko claimed during a meeting with law enforcement officers and journalists on June 27.
Reportedly, the order was given on June 24, amid the Wagner PMC mutiny and its “march on Moscow”.
Lukashenko alleges that Belarus has the “technical capabilities” to confront the West, despite widespread corruption within the Belarusian armed forces and security services, and the general disdain of the Belarusian population.
“We were assigned the mission of preserving the peace won by millions of lives of heroes, our fathers and grandfathers,” Lukashenko alleged.
“This means only one thing – we must be stronger than the threat that once again hangs a shadow over our land.”
Lukashenko is believed to have played a key role in negotiating an end of the Wagner PMC mutiny. In a video address on June 26, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin offered three options to the fighters of the Wagner mercenary company who had participated in the mutiny attempt: to continue their service by signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense, return to their homes in Russia, or go to Belarus.
The Wagner mutiny: what we know
Prigozhin announced the beginning of an armed conflict with the Russian Defense Ministry on the evening of June 23, claiming that he wanted to “restore justice” in Russia.
He said that the Russian army struck the mercenaries’ “rear camp.” However, the conflict between Prigozhin and Shoigu had started months earlier.
For the past few months, the Wagner leader has been persistently demanding the resignation of the Russian defense minister, accusing him of poor management of the Russian armed forces and of not supplying enough ammunition to Wagner forces.
The next day, Wagner forces seized control over the main military facilities in the cities of Rostov-on-Don and Voronezh. They also shot down seven Russian Air Force aircraft.
Prigozhin then demanded meetings with Russia’s top military leadership and threatened to “advance towards Moscow” in a video address shot in Rostov-on-Don.
Putin, in turn, posted a video address saying that the Russian Armed Forces had ordered to eliminate those who led the “rebellion”.
The Wagnerites’ convoys nevertheless moved towards Moscow in a “march for justice,” as Prigozhin called it.
The FSB charged Prigozhin with “inciting insurrection,” while the security forces were preparing to defend Moscow. Putin is believed to have fled the capital to his residence in Valdai, northwest of Moscow.
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko held talks with Prigozhin as his mercenaries closed in on Moscow, Lukashenko’s press office stated, culminating in a deal where Prigozhin agreed to halt his forces’ advance on the Russian capital – in exchange for dropping charges and changes at the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Soon after, Prigozhin ordered Wagner mercenaries to turn back from Moscow and return to their combat positions.
The Kremlin soon announced that the criminal case against Prigozhin would be closed, and he himself would “go to Belarus.”
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