Belarus shows off a military camp to host Russia’s Wagner mercenaries after a failed mutiny

by Joshua Brown
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Wagner mercenaries

Belarus Exhibits Military Camp for Potential Relocation of Russia’s Wagner Mercenaries Following Failed Mutiny

In a recent development, the Belarusian military showcased a field camp that it has offered to Russia’s Wagner military contractor as a potential relocation site in Belarus, as part of a deal to resolve the mutiny that took place. Maj. Gen. Leonid Kosinsky, an assistant to Belarus’ defense minister, provided details to international journalists, stating that the former Belarusian army camp near Tsel, approximately 90 kilometers (55 miles) southeast of Minsk, could be utilized by the Wagner troops.

Rows of unoccupied tents were presented to journalists, with Kosinsky explaining that they have the capacity to house up to 5,000 troops. The camp, situated in the Asipovichy district, was previously utilized by the Belarusian army before being transferred to the territorial defense forces.

In terms of the agreement, representatives from the Wagner Group have not yet inspected the camp to assess its suitability. Kosinsky informed reporters, “When the Wagner Group makes a final decision on whether to deploy to Belarus or not, they will see where and how to deploy.”

President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus stated on Thursday that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, is currently in Russia and his troops have thus far remained at their respective home bases. This raises questions regarding the validity of the agreement, which brought an end to the unprecedented challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s leadership.

Numerous aspects of the agreement, brokered by Lukashenko, remain unclear. It is uncertain whether Prigozhin’s presence in Russia would violate the terms of the deal, which allowed him and his mercenaries to relocate to Belarus in exchange for ending the rebellion and receiving amnesty.

Although the veracity of Lukashenko’s claim cannot be independently verified, Russian media outlets have reported sightings of Prigozhin at his offices in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city. Dmitry Peskov, the spokesperson for Putin, dismissed inquiries about Prigozhin’s whereabouts and declined to comment on whether his presence in Russia would breach the agreement.

Lukashenko refuted suggestions that the mercenaries could launch attacks on Ukraine from Belarusian territory, which Russian troops previously used as a staging area prior to their invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

During the failed revolt, Prigozhin’s mercenaries swiftly captured the military headquarters in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don without encountering resistance, before advancing to a point roughly 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the Russian capital. At least six military helicopters and a command post aircraft were downed, resulting in the deaths of ten airmen. Following the agreement, the Wagner chief instructed his troops to return to their respective camps.

The thwarted rebellion posed the most significant threat to Putin’s rule during his more than two decades in power, exposing his vulnerabilities and undermining the Kremlin’s authority.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Wagner mercenaries

What is the purpose of Belarus showing off a military camp for Wagner mercenaries?

Belarus showcased a military camp as a potential relocation site for Wagner mercenaries as part of a deal to resolve a failed mutiny.

Where is the camp located?

The camp is situated near Tsel, approximately 90 kilometers (55 miles) southeast of Minsk, in the Asipovichy district of Belarus.

How many troops can the camp accommodate?

According to Major General Leonid Kosinsky, the camp has rows of empty tents that can house up to 5,000 troops.

Have the Wagner representatives inspected the camp?

No, the Wagner representatives have not yet inspected the camp to determine if it meets their needs. They will make a final decision on deployment if they choose to relocate to Belarus.

Where is Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Wagner, currently located?

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko claimed that Yevgeny Prigozhin is in Russia, and so far, his troops have remained at their home camps. However, the claim has not been independently verified.

Could Prigozhin’s presence in Russia violate the deal?

It remains unclear if Prigozhin’s presence in Russia would violate the agreement, which allowed him and his mercenaries to move to Belarus in exchange for ending the rebellion and receiving amnesty.

What was the significance of the failed mutiny and the deal?

The failed mutiny by Wagner mercenaries posed a significant threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rule. The deal brokered by Lukashenko resolved the challenge but raised questions about its implications and the future actions of the mercenaries.

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