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Wagner fighters reportedly training Belarus soldiers

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The undated photo shows Wagner fighters training Belarusian soldiers. (By Reuters)

Belarus says fighters from the Wagner military group are training its troops at a base southeast of Minsk.

Two Belarusian sources close to Wagner, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Friday that a number of fighters have been in Belarus since July 11.

Wagner, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, launched a short-lived mutiny against Moscow in June. Prigozhin said the move was aimed at "bringing to justice" the defense minister and chief of the general staff of Russia for what he called their unprofessional actions in Ukraine.

Belarus intervened to broker a deal between Prigozhin and President Vladimir Putin. As a result, Wagner abandoned the “march for justice” on Moscow by thousands of its recruits in exchange for safe passage to exile in Belarus. Criminal charges against Prigozhin were also dropped as part of the agreement.

President Putin believes the mutiny could have plunged Russia into a civil war. The president denounced the mutiny as treason. And Prigozhin said later that the move was not meant to overthrow the government.

To date, however, there has been no sign of Wagner's fighters in Belarus. Prigozhin has not been seen in public since he left the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don on June 24.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that Wagner had transferred more than 2,000 pieces of equipment and over 2,500 tons of ammunition.

Thousands of Wagner members are still believed to be based at the group’s camp in Russian-controlled areas in eastern Ukraine.

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