Wagner mercenaries seem to have joined Belarus special forces - media
Belarusian journalists have seen possible evidence that mercenaries of the disbanded Russian PMC Wagner could have joined the newly created Tornado special forces of the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs
This refers to the demonstration performance of the Tornado special purpose unit with the participation of the leadership of the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs, which took place on December 14, 2023, at military unit 3310 (Minsk). The unit was created in December, according to the Reform.by news portal.
"The press services of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Internal Troops published colorful videos of the performance and focused on the flags of the so-called Wagner PMC, which were hanging on the flagpole along with the national flag of the Republic of Belarus and the flag of the special forces. The same unregistered symbols of Russian militants were on a pickup truck with a large-caliber machine gun," the statement says.
There were no official explanations for the Wagner PMC symbols. At the same time, on the same day, Russia Today propagandist Konstantin Prydybailo published a post with a photo of the militants' symbols and stated that the mercenaries were part of the Tornado special forces. "In Belarus, the Wagner fighters have joined the ranks of the special forces of the Internal Troops (analogous to the Rosgvardia)," Prydybailo wrote.
Earlier, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Commander of the Internal Troops of Belarus Nikolai Karpenkov said that the Lukashenko regime's internal troops would be "combat-coordinated" with Wagner PMC militants to conduct joint hostilities. He also talked about meeting with Yevgeny Prigozhin in Belarus in the first days after the coup. According to Karpenkov, the PMC militants were supposed to share their experience in using artillery.
"In the footage published on December 14, Tornado fighters actually demonstrate mortars and ammunition to the Interior Ministry leadership," Reform.by emphasizes.
"Most likely, the authorities gave the Wagner militants Belarusian citizenship, as without it they could not serve in the internal affairs forces," continues the opposition TV channel Basta.
The Belarusian Hajun monitoring blog considers the evidence of the alleged joining of ex-Wagner fighters to the Tornado unit of the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs to be insufficient. "There is nothing unexpected in the possible entry of mercenaries into the security forces of the Lukashenka regime. But to assert this only on the basis of mercenary symbols or dubious sources (like the aforementioned propagandist Prydybailo - ed.) is at least incorrect," Belarusian Hajun describes the situation.
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