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30+ Russian citizens detained in Belarus as part of ‘foreign’ private military company – state media (VIDEO)

Almost three dozen members of Russian private military company Wagner were detained in Belarus, state media reports. The ‘mercenaries’ had allegedly come to destabilize the country during its upcoming election.

Belarus government officials would not immediately confirm the report, saying details of what had happened would be made public “through official channels” in due course.

Belta, the state news agency, said a total of 33 Russian citizens were snatched. Of those, 32 belong to ‘Wagner,’ a Russian company said to be a provider of mercenary services throughout the world. The news agency’s law enforcement sources said that they'd received the information about the arrival of more than 200 militants on Belarus’ territory, to allegedly destabilize the situation during the election campaign.

The group of 32 suspected Wagner fighters were arrested overnight at a country resort near Minsk. Another person, not identified in Belta's report as a potential militant, was arrested in the country’s south. Belarus state security agency KGB and the Interior Ministry's special forces had been involved in the operation.

The story comes amid a tense election campaign in Belarus, where President Alexander Lukashenko is seeking reelection for a fifth term. The campaign has given rise to a scandal, after one of his leading opponents, banker Viktor Babariko was accused of money laundering and other crimes, disrupting his bid for presidency.

Also on rt.com Lukashenko opponent Valery Tsepkalo flees to Russia fearing arrest in Belarus

Another of his opponents, Valery Tsepkalo, fled from Belarus to Russia last week, saying his arrest was imminent. Like Babariko, he was previously barred from running for the presidency by the Central Election Commission. Lukashenko repeatedly warned that foreign forces and Belarus' opposition groups were plotting to undermine his votes on August 9, by launching a mass protest campaign against him.

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