Igor KOZLOV, “the FACTS”
Ahead of the presidential elections in Belarus, which are scheduled for August 9, near Minsk was arrested 33 militants of the Russian private military company PMC “Wagner”. Footage of the arrest was shown on state TV channel “Belarus 1”. The militants seized a Russian passport, credit cards, wads of dollars, Russian and Belarusian rubles, as well as smartphones and condoms.
At least nine militants included Russian mercenaries in the database of the Ukrainian website “Peacemaker”. This means that they participated in the fighting in the Donbass.
KGB of Belarus considers that the mercenaries arrived in the country to destabilize the situation during the election campaign. Wednesday, July 29, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko held an emergency meeting with members of the security Council of the Republic.
“If Russian citizens, then we must go immediately to the relevant authorities of the Russian Federation, they explained what was happening, said Lukashenko. — If guilty, it is to this situation is to go with dignity. Not to blame — well, we have no purpose to discredit close to us country.”
Read also: Lukashenko knew about the arrival in Belarus of Russian militants PMC “Wagner”, — Tyshkevich
The Chairman of the KGB of Belarus Valery Vakulchik said that the detainees were “exactly” are the soldiers of PMC “Wagner”.
Confirmed this information and the Russian writer Zakhar Prilepin, who fought in the Donbass on the party of fighters. Answering the question of Internet publication URA.RU he said that among the detained in Belarus of citizens of the Russian Federation is the military, which it knows well. “There’s two or three soldiers from my battalion,” said Park. However, he believes that mercenaries were in Minsk in order to destabilize the situation in the country. Prilepin sure that they used the territory of Belarus as a staging base to go to other part of the world.
Russian officials strongly pretend that there is nothing extraordinary in Belarus has not happened. First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Vladimir Jabbarov said: “I don’t think someone planning to use the PMC during the election campaign of the President of Belarus. If there are some Russians, it does not mean that they came to commit any illegal actions”.
Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on information policy Alexander Yushchenko even accused Western countries that they “are quite active in the destabilization campaign against Belarus”. “In this situation, it is necessary to understand”, — said Russian Deputy.
The Kremlin, as usual, withdrew from the scandal. Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said: “what is PMC “Wagner””? In Russia, de jure such thing as a PMC, no”, — said Peskov told reporters.
“Radio Liberty” reviewed the record of detention of the militants. The experts of the Corporation came to the conclusion that some of the detainees could be sent through Belarus to Sudan. They seized among other cash banknotes of 20 Sudanese pounds (about 40 cents) and a phone card with a picture of a mosque Khatmia in the city of Kassala.
The security service of Ukraine (SBU) has stated that it intends to initiate the procedure of extradition of the detained in Belarus militants, whose names appear in the “Peacemaker”.
Given the fact that PMCs “Wagner” once again appeared in the center of a loud international scandal, “FACTS” decided to remind what is this organization and what it does.
Group “Wagner” — an informal military organization, officially has nothing to do with the Armed forces of Russia and have no legal status in the territory of the Russian Federation. According to various estimates, the number of mercenaries PMC “Wagner” ranges from 1 350 to 2 500 people.
The PMC was established on the basis of the so-called “Slavic corps”. A group of Russian mercenaries, who perform combat missions in Syria in 2013. In the “Slavic corps” fought someone Dmitry Utkin with the call sign “Wagner”.
It is known that Dmitry V. Utkin born in 1970 and previously served as commander of the 700-th separate brigade of spetsnaz of the 2nd separate brigade of special purpose GRU, located in Pechory Pskov region. A copy of the report of his dismissal is on the Internet, but the authenticity of that document at the moment confirmed by anyone.
In 2016 Utkin was spotted at a special reception in the Kremlin for the Russian military who have distinguished themselves in a special heroism. They met then with President Vladimir Putin. In June 2017 the US government made Utkin in the sanctions list. In the documents of the Ministry of Finance of the USA clearly States that this person “is linked to private military company “Wagner””.
But the first evidence of PMCs “Wagner” came from Ukrainian intelligence services after may 2014, the mercenaries showed themselves in the Donbass. In October 2017, the head of the security service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak said about the involvement of “vagnerova” to the deaths of military transport Il-76 in Eastern Ukraine in June 2014, to storm the Donetsk airport and fighting in the area Debaltsevo.
After PMC “Wagner” was lit in Ukraine, which led to loud scandal, the group quickly moved to the middle East. Since the second half of 2015, these mercenaries were active in Syria. They participated in the storming of Palmyra in 2016 and 2017. June 2017 the goal of “vagnerova” says the Russian Internet edition “Fontanka” has changed.
It turned out that the defense Ministry has sharply reduced the supply group weapons. PMC “Wagner” went to self-sufficiency. In addition, standing over its work of the notorious Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, apparently, decided that this project should bring him profit.
Prigogine — a person is quite remarkable and mysterious. Engaged in the restaurant business and supply of products to the Kremlin, for which he received the nickname “Putin’s cook”. Due to the proximity to the President, his company has won several lucrative tenders for catering services in Russian schools, the provision of food to the army units. But all this — a sign, according to many experts. What Prigogine is behind the activities of so-called “Troll factory”, which holds a massive and well-organized propaganda campaign in different countries, based on the fakes. The same Prigogine, though he strongly denied the benefits of, and PMCs “Wagner”.
A Russian company with a pretty shady reputation sign contracts in the Middle East and Africa security works in the oil and gas fields, gold mines, and mines where gems are mined. In the media and then pop up the names of firms associated with the Prigogine — “M invest” Meroe Gold, LLC “Euro Polis”. As payment for their services, these companies receive up to 25%, and sometimes more, of extracted minerals and precious metals and stones. The growing list of countries — Syria, Libya, Sudan, Central African Republic. Everywhere representatives of Prigogine agree with those who are experiencing serious problems. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, Libya — rebel General Khalifa Haftar, in the CAR — the supporters of the former dictator Bokassa.
These firms then hire mercenaries from the PMC, before which is put the next task is to establish full control over those or other fields and ensure the extraction and transportation of hydrocarbons, gold or precious metals in the interests of the customer and the employer. However, apart from these purposes, “vagnerovsky” periodically involved in combat operations, as was the case in Syria and Libya.
The United States has repeatedly accused Russia of the use of mercenaries in these countries. For example, the report of experts of the Washington Institute for near East policy says that “the trend of increasing use of PMCs as a tool of foreign policy is a hallmark of Putin’s strategy”. However, an intricate network of subcontractors does not allow at the moment to make a clear distinction between military and civilian forces, and PMC operate outside of a clear legal field. This allows the Kremlin every time to disown “vagnerova”. This is especially evident when mercenaries die. According to the SBU, only one of those who fought in the Donbass, and then in Syria, has killed 277 mercenaries PMC “Wagner”. But their families are unable to obtain from the Russian authorities and official aid granted to relatives of military personnel killed in the performance.
Nevertheless, wishing to be hired in PMC enough. Recruitment of personnel is not only in Russia. Signed contracts, for example, residents of that part of Donbass, which is controlled by separatists. There are mercenaries among the citizens of Belarus, Moldova, Serbia. Accurate statistics, unfortunately, does not exist.
Adopted in PMC “Wagner” mercenaries sign a non-disclosure agreement information. How much they receive, it is known mainly thanks to the journalistic investigation by the “Fontanka”. The publication reports that all applicants for jobs fill out applications with personal information, photograph, pass a polygraph test and for their work receive from 160 to 240 thousand rubles per month. It is at the current rate from 2 170 to $ 3 $ 260.
More accurate data are provided by the group of activists Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), which monitors the actions of the Russian military in Syria. Its leader Ruslan Leviev claims that the salary of the mercenaries depends on the skills, objectives and the place of operation. While learning in Russia she is from 50 to 80 thousand rubles (680-1085 dollars), while foreign operations — 100-120 thousand rubles (1360-1630 dollars) in the event of hostilities — 150-200 thousand rubles (2040-2720 dollars) in the case of special campaigns or major battles — up to 300 thousand rubles (4080 dollars).
One more remarkable fact. Mercenaries PMC “Wagner” train at a military base near the farm of Molkino in Krasnodar territory. This base is directly connected to a main base 10-th separate brigade of GRU of the defense Ministry of the Russian Federation (in/h 51 532). Other training points “vagnerova” nothing is known.
Earlier, the “FACTS” reported that the security Council of Belarus said that the country still is about 200 mercenaries from the PMC “Wagner”. Given this, Belarus has decided to transfer troops to the border with Russia.
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