MINSK, 30 July (BelTA) – Belarus 1 TV channel has provided details of the arrest of foreign militants near Minsk. According to the channel, some of the fighters said they were Russian citizens, BelTA reports.
The TV channel showed a security camera footage from the IBB Hotel where a group of 32 men checked in on the night of 25 July. They had three heavy suitcases with them.
The Panorama program showed an exchange of messages where men discussed a joint dinner, the time and place of the evening headcount. A KGB representative told the media that the raid had been planned and carried out taking into consideration confirmed evidence of the suspects' previous participation in local military conflicts.
“During the arrest, some of the suspects said they could not be arrested on administrative or criminal charges because of their Russian citizenship and previous service in Russia's defense and law enforcement agencies. These people were told that persons committing offenses in the territory of our state are punishable in line with the laws of the Republic of Belarus,” he noted.
The TV channel also showed scans of passports and photos of the detainees.
Fighters from Wagner Group, a foreign private military contractor, were detained at around 5:30 on 29 July, KGB Chief Valery Vakulchik said at the Belarus president's meeting with the Security Council members.
A reminder, 32 Wagner Group fighters were arrested near Minsk by Belarusian security forces on 29 July. Another person was detained in the south of the country.
The law enforcement agencies informed that they had received information on the arrival of over 200 militants in Belarus with a mission to disrupt the presidential election. Each of the Russians had small luggage. There were also three heavy suitcases which were loaded into a vehicle by several men.
Upon arrival in Minsk on the night of 24 July, the group settled in one of Minsk hotels and was to check out on 25 July, however they left the hotel on 27 July and moved into a sanatorium in Minsk District.
According to the sanatorium administration, the group aroused suspicion because they wore military-style clothing and behaved in ways uncharacteristic for Russian tourists. They shunned alcohol, avoided night clubs, kept separately from others and tried not to draw attention. They carefully examined the territory and surroundings of the sanatorium in small groups. Thirty-two people were detained by the KGB and Minsk riot police forces. Another person was arrested in the south of the country.