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Monitoring group: Wagner brings rare fighting vehicles to Belarus

by Martin Fornusek July 25, 2023 10:22 PM 1 min read
Joint training of Wagner fighters and Belarusian soldiers, Belarus, July 23, 2023. (Source: Belarusian Defense Ministry)
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The 11th Wagner convoy has arrived in Belarus, this time including six rare Shchuka armored vehicles, the monitoring group Belarusian Hajun reported on July 25.

The column includes at least 29 vehicles, namely one UAZ-Patriot, two Ural-4320 trucks, two KAMAZ trucks, six truck tractors with six excavators and one 1GAZelle pickup truck, one off-road vehicle, and 11 other trucks, Belarusian Hajun wrote on Telegram.

According to the monitoring group, the vehicles are moving along the P43 highway and are likely traveling to the camp in the village of Tsel near Asipovichy.

As the anti-government group noted, Shchukas are a distinctive vehicle used by the Wagner Group and have not been previously recorded in Belarus.

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko allegedly helped broker a deal for Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin and his troops to relocate to Belarus after their armed "rebellion" in late June stopped short of reaching Moscow.

On July 14, Belarusian state media reported that Wagner mercenaries were in the country to train Belarusian territorial defense forces. The monitoring group Belarusian Hajun later identified several Wagner convoys heading toward a military training facility near the city of Asipovichy.

On July 20, Belarus announced joined exercises between the mercenaries and the Belarusian military near the border with Poland.

Ukraine's Border Guard Service commented on July 16 that the mercenaries do not pose a serious threat to Ukraine due to their low numbers in Belarus.

Several NATO leaders have, however, called for strengthening the Alliance's eastern flank in reaction to the private military company's re-deployment.

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced on July 18 that Poland's border with Belarus will be reinforced with two additional military brigades due to the Wagner Group's presence.

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