Belarus has arrested dozens of Russian mercenaries after receiving information that more than 200 fighters had entered the country to destabilise it before a presidential election, according to Belarusian state media.
The state-controlled Belta news agency said on Wednesday that the mercenaries worked for Wagner, Russia’s best-known private military contractor.
Belta said Belarusian special forces had arrested 32 Russian mercenaries in the Minsk area and another person in the south of the country.
“The guests drew attention to themselves because they did not behave like Russian tourists usually do and wore military-style clothing,” Belta reported.
The group arrived in Minsk on July 24, it said, noting that each man carried small hand luggage only, but that the group had three big heavy suitcases.
State TV showed the men being arrested in their underwear and broadcast footage of one man’s belongings which included a Russian passport, military-style patches and US dollar bills.