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Monitoring group: Wagner using military storage facilities in Belarus

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 1, 2023 2:45 PM 2 min read
A Belarusian soldier walks through a newly-built camp on a site previously used by the Belarusian army that could potentially accommodate up to 5,000 Wagner troops, on July 07, 2023. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Russia's Wagner mercenary group is using military warehouses at a disused Belarusian military camp, monitoring group Belarusian Hajun reported on August 1.

Belarusian Hajun believes the warehouses began to be used by the group around July 18th and are located at Paplavy, a village 30 minutes by car from the the Wagner camp at Tsel.

Since July, the anti-government group has been tracking Wagner convoys as they cross into Belarus and verifying the equipment the group is bringing with them.  

On July 14, Belarusian state media reported that Wagner mercenaries were in the country to train Belarusian territorial defense forces. They may be supplanting the Russian military as the Belarusian military's key training partner, the Institute for the Study of War said in their August 1 report.

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.

The Ukrainian authorities reported that as of July 22, about 5,000 Wagner mercenaries are in Belarus, but the border is secure and is being monitored for additional risks.

Ukraine's National Resistance Center stated on July 26 that the organization was recruiting fighters in Belarus, under the condition that the new recruits are ready "to participate in hostilities in Poland and Lithuania.

On July 29, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that more than 100 mercenaries were deployed to the Grodno area in Belarus near the Suwalki Gap, an area southwest of the Lithuania-Poland border, between Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

He stated that the fighters  could infiltrate Poland from Belarus in a "hybrid attack."

Poland had 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.

In March, the Lithuanian parliament officially recognized the Wagner as a terrorist organization. The resolution stated that their members pose a threat to the security of the Lithuanian state and society.

The Wagner Group claimed on July 30 that it had "indefinitely" suspended recruitment of new members as it possesses sufficiently "large personnel reserves."

However, it did not mention whether this decision extends to recruiting new members in Belarus where a significant number of the contractors are based at the moment.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 18 – How Putin cracks down on former allies
Episode #18 of our weekly video podcast “This Week in Ukraine” is dedicated to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on his former allies after Wagner’s failed mutiny. Host Anastasiia Lapatina is joined by the Kyiv Independent’s reporter Oleg Sukhov. Listen to the audio version of the podcas…

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