Wagner group mercenaries now train military in Belarus

militia mercenaries Wagnerwhich staged a frustrated rebellion in Russia last month, are conducting military training in Belarus, the Belarusian government, which backs Moscow’s military offensive against Ukraine, said on Friday.

Ukraine has admitted for its part that its counter-offensive to reconquer territories conquered by Russia in the south and east is proceeding slowly, amidst fierce battles.

“The fighters of the Wagner private military company act as instructors in various military areas” and train “units of the territorial defense troops” of Belarus, the defense ministry said in Minsk.

The recruits learn, among other things, “battlefield movement techniques and tactical shooting,” he added.

In a video of the exercises posted by the ministry on YouTube, a Belarusian soldier says the experience is “very useful” for the army.

Where is Yevgeny Prigozhin?

The Wagner group, which played a key role in the Russian offensive in Ukrainewhich began in February 2022, rebelled against the General Staff of the regular army three weeks ago.

The training of the Belarusian army with the mercenaries of the Wagner group. Photo: REUTERS

The militiamen have occupied a barracks in Rostov-on-Don, in southern Russia, and have advanced a few hundred kilometers towards Moscow.

The revolt ended a few hours later, with an agreement that provided for the departure of its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, for Belarus.

Prigozhin’s whereabouts are uncertain. The Kremlin recognized Russian President Vladimir Putin, receiving him at the end of June, a few days after his rebellion, in the company of Wagner’s top commanders.

The US Department of Defense said Thursday that Wagner’s mercenaries are no longer “significantly” involved in the fighting in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian counter-offensive proceeds slowly

THE Ukrainian expectation of a weakening of Russian troops after the Wagner rebellion has so far not been confirmed and the Ukrainian counter-offensive, launched in June to recapture the eastern and southern territories, “is not progressing so fast at the moment”, admitted the head of the Ukrainian presidential cabinet, Andrii Yermak , referring to the intensity of the fighting.

Over the past week, Ukrainian troops have barely advanced 1,700 meters to the south, Kiev said.

Kyiv says the slow progress is due to the slowness of its Western allies in delivering promised weapons.

It also requires long-range weapons and fighter planes to deal with Russian troops.

Ukrainian soldiers fire a missile at Russian positions in the Zaporizhia region.  Photo: REUTERS
Ukrainian soldiers fire a missile at Russian positions in the Zaporizhia region. Photo: REUTERS

The counter-offensive goes hand in hand with periodic Russian bombing of several cities, including Kiev, the capital.

Ukraine’s military said on Friday it had shot down 16 of 17 Iranian-made Shahed 136/131 combat drones launched by Russia from the southeast.

Despite the slow pace of the counter-offensive, there were some conquests in the south and north of Bakhmut, who fell into Russian hands in June after months of fighting in which Wagner’s men played a preponderant role.

“Baymut will be ours,” Masik, a Ukrainian drone operator, told AFP.

Yermak, considered the main adviser to the Ukrainian president Volodimir Zelenski, recalled that Kyiv will be able to open peace negotiations only “after the Russian troops have left our territory”.

THE lack of exit traded signals of the conflict comes just days after the expiry of the agreement that allows Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea.

The pact, signed between Kiev and Moscow in July 2022 and extended several times, has helped alleviate the global food crisis caused by the conflict between these two major producers of raw materials and food.

Russia regularly threatens to withdraw from this deal, which expires on Monday.

US diplomacy chief Antony Blinken said in a meeting with his Southeast Asian counterparts in Indonesia that developing countries would “pay the price” if Russia refused to extend it.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who acted together with the UN as mediator in these negotiations, assured that Putin “accepts” to sign a new extension of the pact.

Source: AFP

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