They are described as men of low works in Moscow. Effective. Fierce. No thank you. But they had a mission to bring down the one that is referred to as the last dictator of Europe ? Nothing is less sure. The arrest, Wednesday, July 29, in Minsk, of thirty-three men, alleged members of the private militia Russian Wagner, has plunged into disarray a number of specialists in geopolitics. According to the agency information related to the belarusian government, Belta, paramilitaries apprehended at a Resort hotel, where they had not the air of Russian tourists, were in the country to ” destabilize the situation during elections “. Suspected of fomenting the actions of” terrorists “, the men were placed in custody, provoking the ire of Moscow.
“We hope very much that our allies, the belarusians will explain about this incident as soon as possible and that our citizens will be freed “, said on Friday July 31, the spokesman of the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, stating the arrest of his fellow citizens ” without foundation “. While confirming that men assisted property for a private security company, but without naming it, Mr Peskov denied any company of destabilization in Belarus. ” It is obvious that it can’t be the case, Russia and Belarus are allies, the closest partners. “ ” Their stay was not connected neither to Belarus, nor to its internal affairs “, he added, claiming that the men were in transit to a third country.
According to the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, fifteen of the thirty-three men worked well for Wagner, or had links with the paramilitary group. According to the prosecutor general of Ukraine in Kiev, twenty-eight are suspected of having participated in the conflict in the Donbass, in the east of Ukraine, to the sides of the separatist pro-Russian. On Friday, Kiev said it would require the extradition of the latter.
The arrest of these men comes a few days from the presidential election scheduled for 9 August. Alexander Lukashenko, who rules the country since 1994, usually wins the upper hand in these elections, carried out in defiance of all rules of transparency. But having ruled out most of its opponents and thrown in jail more than a thousand protesters and activists, the head of State is facing a popular opposition unprecedented. The crowd, tired of his authoritarian management, and scarred by his nonchalance in the face of the Covid-19, is mass in the meeting of the one who became the main figure of the opposition, Svetlana Tsikhonovskaya, the wife of the blogger Sergei Tikhanovski, which described Lukashenko as a ” cockroach “ prior to being put behind bars at the end of may.
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