Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has ordered increased security on Ukraine’s border with Belarus following the arrival of fighters from Wagner, a mercenary group fighting against Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Fighters from the group were exiled to Belarus after a failed mutiny last week.
Zelensky said he had been informed of the situation in Belarus by Ukrainian intelligence, foreign intelligence and border guards, which led to the decision.
“According to the decision of the Supreme Command, Commander-in-Chief (Valery) Zaluzhny and General (Sergey) Nayev were ordered to strengthen the northern direction in order to guarantee peace. There is an appropriate deadline,” the Ukrainian leader said.
After the rebellion, Vladimir Putin gave the militants three options: sign a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense, return to civilian life or go into exile in Belarus.
In a televised address to the nation, Vladimir Putin said he would fulfill his promise to allow the Wagner fighters to relocate to Belarus if they wanted to.
“I thank the soldiers and commanders of the Wagner Group for making the only correct decision – they did not go to the bloodshed of cannibalism, they stopped at the last line of defense. The agency signs a contract and continues to serve Russia, or return to your family and friends. Whoever wants to go to Belarus. The promise I made will definitely be fulfilled,” he said.
Referring to the mercenary fighters, the Russian leader stated: “We know that the vast majority of fighters and commanders of the Wagner Group are also Russian patriots, loyal to their people and country. They have proved this with their courage on the battlefield, Liberated Donbass and New Russia. They tried to use them in the dark against their comrades, who fought side by side for the country and the future of the country. Therefore, from the very beginning of the incident, on my direct instructions, measures were taken Avoid massive bloodshed.”