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Border Guards: Number of Wagner fighters in Belarus decreases

by Martin Fornusek August 25, 2023 1:52 PM 2 min read
Tents at a Belarusian military camp built in July to accommodate thousands of Wagner troops. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
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The number of Wagner Group mercenaries stationed in Belarus is gradually decreasing as they depart for Russia, State Border Guard Service's spokesperson Andrii Demchenko said on Aug. 25.

The official said that Wagner forces had started to leave in "not significant" numbers even prior to the reported death of Wagner's founder Yevgeny Prigozhin during a plane crash in Russia's Tver Oblast on Aug. 23.

The gradual departure of Wagner mercenaries from Belarus has become even more apparent after their boss's presumed demise, Demchenko added.

Prigozhin and other senior Wagner leaders, including his right-hand man Dmitry Utkin, were listed as passengers of the private Embraer Legacy plane that crashed near the village of Kuzhenkino in Tver Oblast while flying from Moscow to St. Petersburg. All 10 people on board died in the crash.

Russian media: Private jet crashes in Russia, warlord Prigozhin listed among passengers
A private plane has reportedly crashed in Russia’s Tver Oblast, with the Wagner Group’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin listed as one of the passengers, the state-owned news agency TASS reported on Aug. 23.

In June, the mercenary leader launched a short-lived rebellion against the Kremlin, capturing the city of Rostov and marching toward Moscow before abruptly ending the insurrection less than 24 after it began.

Following an undisclosed deal allegedly brokered by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, Wagner mercenaries were allowed to leave for Belarus. Camps for the mercenaries were set up in the country as they started providing training to the Belarusian military.

However, reports appeared in August that the mercenaries began to leave Belarus, allegedly due to low pay.

Ukraine's National Resistance Center reported one day after the Embraer Legacy plane crash that Wagner convoys are on their way from Belarus to Russia. Satellite images have also shown that the camp in the village of Tsel near Asipovichy, used by the mercenaries, is being dismantled.

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