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  • By Jaroslav Lukiv
  • BBC Information

Picture supply, VoenTV/Belarusian Defence Ministry by way of Reuters

Picture caption,

Photos have emerged purportedly displaying Wagner fighters coaching Belarusian troopers at a base south-east of Minsk

Ukraine’s border guard service has confirmed that Wagner mercenaries have now arrived in Belarus from neighbouring Russia.

The DPSU says it’s assessing what number of “militants” are in Belarus, which additionally shares a border with Ukraine, in addition to their precise location and objectives.

One unconfirmed report stated a convoy of some 60 Wagner autos rolled over the border into Belarus early on Saturday.

In June, Wagner’s mutiny challenged President Vladimir Putin’s authority.

A deal ended the 24-hour riot, which noticed the troops seize a metropolis and march on Moscow – aborting it simply 200km (124 miles) from the capital.

Below the settlement, Wagner fighters had been informed they may be a part of both the common Russian military or go to Belarus, an in depth ally of Russia. The Wagner chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was additionally supplied a transfer to Belarus, nevertheless his present whereabouts are unknown.

The Wagner group is a pro-Russian separatist power made up of mercenary fighters – lots of whom had been recruited from Russian prisons. They’ve fought a number of the bloodiest battles since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February final 12 months.

On Friday, Belarus’ defence ministry stated Wagner troops had been now performing as navy instructors for the nation’s territorial defence forces.

The ministry stated the fighters had been coaching Belarusian forces “in various navy disciplines” close to the city of Osipovichy, about 85km (53 miles) south-east of the capital Minsk.

Earlier this week, President Putin revealed that Prigozhin had rejected a suggestion for his fighters to affix the Russian military as an everyday unit.

He informed Russia’s Kommersant newspaper that many group commanders had backed the plan, to be led by a senior Wagner determine, throughout talks in Moscow on 29 June.

However he stated that Prigozhin’s reply was “the blokes [Wagner troops] don’t agree with this determination”.

Mr Putin additionally stated that beneath Russian regulation, Wagner “doesn’t exist”, as a result of mercenary teams are usually not formally recognised. However that “troublesome concern” needs to be mentioned in parliament, the president added.

The Kremlin seems to wish to differentiate between the Wagner chief and common Wagner fighters, driving a wedge between them, says the BBC’s Russia editor Steve Rosenberg in Moscow.

He provides that this is able to clarify the makes an attempt in Russia’s state media to discredit Prigozhin.

Because the 23 June mutiny, there have been conflicting and unconfirmed stories of Prigozhin’s whereabouts.

He’s a former Putin loyalist and as soon as even nicknamed “Putin’s chef” for his catering contracts with the Kremlin. However public infighting between Prigozhin and Russia’s ministry of defence over the conduct of the conflict have put him at steep odds with Russia authorities.

US President Joe Biden stated on Thursday that Prigozhin needs to be cautious of poisoning following the mutiny.

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Watch: The day Wagner chief went rogue… in 96 seconds

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