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Belarus Reviewing Border Security With Russia’s Wagner Fighters

Interior Minister Ivan Kubrakov met Wagner commanders at a training centre to draw up a “clear plan of action”, a statement said.

“In view of the difficult situation near the republic’s borders, it is especially important to be ready to respond to potential challenges and threats,” Kubrakov’s ministry quoted him as stating.

He was quoted as hailing the mercenaries’ “practical experience” following their months-long combat in eastern Ukraine, notably in bloody battles such as the one for the flashpoint city of Bakhmut.

Although Belarus, a staunch Russian ally, is not fighting directly in Ukraine, the Russian army has used its territory and aerodromes as a rear base in advance of their invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

Ukraine PresidentVolodymyr Zelensky late last month ordered that security be shored up along the Belarus border after Wagner fighters relocated to Belarus under an accord with Moscow.

Belarus has regularly accused European Union member Poland of provocations on their common border.

Warsaw says it sees Wagner’s presence in Belarus as a “potential threat” in the region and is seeking to shore up its eastern flank.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko at the weekend assured Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Minsk was “controlling” the situation by keeping the group in the centre of the country.

“They are asking to go West… to go on a trip to Warsaw… ” Lukashenko told Putin. “But of course, I am keeping them in central Belarus, like we agreed.”

The Belarus strongman is hosting the fighters after brokering a deal that convinced their leader Yevgeny Prigozhin to end a June march on Moscow and exile himself in Belarus.

Source : France24