Evidences from Satellite Images and Reports Point Towards Belarus Constructing a Military Camp for Wagner Mercenaries
Satellite images analyzed by the Associated Press have revealed a newly built military-style camp in Belarus, which may be used to house fighters from the Wagner mercenary group. The images show dozens of tents that were erected within the past two weeks at a former military base outside Osipovichi, a town north of the Ukraine border. Previously, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and his fighters escaped prosecution and were offered refuge in Belarus after Minsk helped broker a deal to end an armed insurrection by the mercenary group. Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko has stated that his country could use Wagner’s experience and expertise and has offered the fighters an “abandoned military unit” to set up camp.
The leader of the anti-Lukashenko BYPOL guerrilla group, Aliaksandr Azarau, confirmed the construction of the site for Wagner mercenaries near Osipovichi. Ukrainian media reported that up to 8,000 fighters from Wagner’s private military force may be deployed in Belarus. In response, Ukraine plans to strengthen its border with Belarus. Lukashenko has previously allowed Russia to use Belarusian territory to send troops and weapons into Ukraine and has welcomed a continued Russian armed presence in Belarus, including joint military camps and exercises.
Despite the presence of Wagner mercenaries and Russian troops, Lukashenko claimed during Belarusian Independence Day celebrations that the mercenaries were not a threat and that he was confident that Belarus would not need to use the nuclear weapons deployed on its territory. He assured that the enemy would never set foot on Belarusian soil. The Putin regime is known to support Lukashenko’s government, and their cooperation has raised concerns about further Russian aggression towards Ukraine.
The presence of Wagner mercenaries in Belarus is significant as it adds to the already precarious situation in the region. The conflict in Ukraine has seen Russia back separatist movements, and the involvement of Wagner mercenaries could escalate the tensions further. It remains to be seen how Belarus’ cooperation with Wagner will affect its relationship with Ukraine and other neighboring countries. The international community will closely monitor the situation to ensure stability and prevent further aggression.