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Wagner, Belarusian military hold joint training near Polish border

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 20, 2023 1:31 PM 2 min read
The joint training of Belarusian soldiers and the Wagner Group contractors, July 20, 2023.
The joint training of Belarusian soldiers and the Wagner Group contractors, July 20, 2023. (Source: Belarusian Defense Ministry/Telegram)
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The Belarusian military and the contractors of the Wagner Group hold four-day joint training in Brest Oblast near the Polish border, the Belarusian Defense Ministry informed on July 20.

"For four days, special tactical training classes are being held at the Brestsky training ground with the involvement of the Wagner Group fighters," the ministry wrote on Telegram.

"We are analyzing the experience of a special military operation and applying it in practice," a member of the Belarusian special forces reportedly said.

According to the ministry's statement, exercises with Wagner contractors with real combat experience are part of the efforts to modernize the Belarusian military and to improve its coherence and training.

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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.

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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