Lukashenko convenes urgent meeting of Belarusian Security Council after fighters' detention
MINSK. July 29 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has convened an urgent meeting with members of the country's Security Council, the Pul 1 Telegram channel close to the presidential press service said.
"Just now, Lukashenko convened an urgent meeting with the Security Council's members at the Independence Palace," it said.
"Unsurprisingly, some don't have any patience at all. Thirty-three people have been detained. Barely half a day has passed, and here we go. Just look at the range of theories being piled up by those who have never seen and don't see the obvious (their imagination is working, they've even found an African trail already). Have you seen information and the full lists of detained fighters with Russian citizenship? If you haven't, then run to BelTA [state news agency]," it said.
Belarusian law enforcement officers detained 32 fighters from the Wagner foreign private military company outside Minsk in the early hours of Wednesday, and another person was detained in the south of the country, the BelTA state-run news agency said earlier.
According to BelTA, law enforcement authorities received information concerning the arrival of more than 200 fighters in Belarus with the goal of destabilizing the situation during the presidential campaign.
"Each Russian had a small carry-on bag, and altogether they had three large, heavy suitcases, which were loaded by several men into a vehicle," BelTA said.
According to BelTA, upon arriving in Minsk in the early hours of July 25, the group checked into a hotel and was supposed to check out on July 25, but it left the hotel on July 27 and relocated to a spa retreat in the Minsk district.
"According to the administration of the spa, the visitors attracted attention with behavior uncharacteristic of Russian tourists and uniform attire in the style of military fatigues. They didn't drink alcohol, didn't attend recreation facilities, kept to themselves, and tried keep a low profile. They thoroughly studied the spa retreat's territory and surroundings in small groups," BelTA said.
"The KGB's [State Security Committee] Group A, with support from special forces units of the Minsk city executive committee of the Interior Ministry, detained 32 people last night. Additionally, another person was detected and detained in the south of the country. The Investigative Committee is conducting an inquiry in connection with the aforementioned people," it said.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said earlier while visiting the 5th Separate Special Operations Brigade in Maryina Gorka, Minsk region that under the current circumstances, wars start with street protests, in which employees of private military companies might be ordered to participate.
"State Secretary [of Belarus Andrei Ravkov] put it right when he said that nowadays all wars begin with street protests and demonstrations followed by maidans. If there are no locals - we have few maidan-minded - they will be brought to the maidan from abroad. These are professional military men, gangsters that are specially trained, mainly as part of private military companies throughout the world, and that earn big money on provocations in different countries," Lukashenko said.