More than 100 Belarusian citizens killed in Ukraine as Wagner mercenaries
Advertising of Wagner PMC in Moscow (Photo:REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina)
At least 100 Belarusian citizens who joined Russia’s Wagner Group private military company have since been killed in Ukraine, one of Belarusian opposition leaders, Valery Sakhashchyk, said in an interview with NV Radio on March 28.
“I think every nation has idiots,” said Sakhashchyk.
“Belarus is no exception. We have information that more than 100 citizens of Belarus have already died (fighting for) the Wagner Group alone. Perhaps (others) are still participating in hostilities somewhere else. But in my opinion, this is a small percentage: maybe 3-5% maximum.”
According to Sakhashchyk, these are largely people who served in the army or other law enforcement agencies and "consider themselves serious fighters and struggle to find employment in civilian life."
Sakhashchyk noted that currently it is hard to earn even $300 a month in Belarus, making it relatively easy for Wagner to recruit fighters in the country.
“At the same time, there is a bunch of promotional material from Wagner, that everything is awesome over there, (you can have) real male bonding, how adventurous it is, and so on,” he explained.
“Plus, they adopt all sorts of Russian ‘grand’ ideas. And why not take advantage of that, when you can rise economically, have fun during the war, kill someone, rape? Yes, unfortunately, there are such people, but their number is clearly not large, nor is it decisive.”
In June 2022, Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya claimed that top political leadership has ordered the Belarusian army to invade Ukraine, but these orders did not make it down the chain of command to the line troops. She subsequently stated that 1,500 Belarusians were fighting on Ukraine’s side in the war.
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