ua en ru

Wagner Group in Belarus could be preparing for second phase of return to Russia

Wagner Group in Belarus could be preparing for second phase of return to Russia Wagner Group in Belarus could be preparing for second phase of return to Russia (Photo: Getty Images)

According to the analysts from the Institute for the Study of War, mercenaries from the Wagner Private Military Group continue to maintain a presence at bases in Belarus, with the possibility of a phased return to Russian territory. However, the status of the expected withdrawal of a certain number of fighters remains unclear.

Experts have noted that satellite images taken on August 9th reveal a significant number of vehicles at the Wagner group's camp in Tsel (Osipovichi district) in Belarus. The images also suggest that more vehicles arrived at the base between August 1 and August 9.

Wagner Group in Belarus could be preparing for second phase of return to RussiaWagner Group in Belarus could be preparing for second phase of return to Russia

Wagner Private Military Group is based at a military camp in Belarus (Photo: Planet Labs)

Ukrainian sources continue to report on the expansion of Wagner group's activities in the Brest region. On August 10, a source connected to Wagner personnel released images indicating that the instructors from this private military group are still training Belarusian servicemen.

A source linked to the Wagner group has contradicted the claims of a possible member of the group who dismissed the assumptions as "fantasies," although the source acknowledged that many Wagner fighters are often unaware of their deployment until the last moment.

Meanwhile, analysts at the Institute for the Study of War have not found evidence to refute recent claims from August 8 that Wagner PMC transported between 500 and 600 mercenaries from Belarus to Russia's Krasnodar Krai, Voronezh, and Rostov regions using buses.

Russian sources have suggested that the Wagner personnel are planning a second phase of their anticipated withdrawal from Belarus on August 13th. However, a small group of instructors from the Wagner PMC will remain in Belarus to continue training the Belarusian military.

Founder of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has yet to comment directly or indirectly on these speculations, as he has done in the past. This may be due to the possibility that "Putin's chef" lacks complete freedom to comment on the future actions of the Wagner group, as indicated in the report.

The Institute for the Study of War noted that Prigozhin was last seen in public on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Economic Forum in St. Petersburg on July 27. He last commented on the future of the PMC in an audio recording published on July 30th, asserting that Wagner fighters who do not sign contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense will arrive in Belarus by August 5

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), rumors of the Wagner Private Military Group's departure from Belarus suggest that the Kremlin might be violating the terms of an agreement brokered through the self-proclaimed president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. This agreement had ostensibly quelled the insurgency of mercenaries on June 24.

"Sources associated with the Kremlin have renewed attacks on Prigozhin at the beginning of August. The speculation could be part of an information campaign aimed at undermining Prigozhin's standing among Wagner PMC fighters or serving another purpose," the publication states.

Key takeaways:

  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive actions on at least three frontlines, advancing in the border regions of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions on August 10th.

  • A Russian war correspondent accused Russian military personnel of fabricating or embellishing reports of their destruction of Ukrainian Armed Forces equipment.

  • On the night of August 9 to 10, Russian forces carried out another series of missile and drone strikes on Ukraine.

  • The Kremlin is seemingly attempting to exert greater control over the Russian internet giant "Yandex" in a move toward crypto-nationalization, as part of preparations for the 2024 presidential elections.

  • The potential transfer of "Yandex" to affiliates of the first deputy head of the Russian presidential administration, Sergey Kiriyenko, implies that Putin aims to reward Kiriyenko for his personal loyalty, particularly after the Wagner PMC uprising on June 24.

  • Affiliated individuals of the arrested war criminal, former FSB officer, and fervent ultranationalist Igor Girkin, continued openly attacking the Kremlin on August 10th.

  • On August 10th, Russian forces launched offensives along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, Avdiivka-Donetsk border, western Donetsk region, eastern Zaporizhzhia region, and western Zaporizhzhia region, achieving some gains.

  • Ukrainian forces also continued counteroffensive actions on at least three frontlines, advancing near the western border of Donetsk region and the eastern part of Zaporizhzhia region on August 10th.

  • Russian officials continue to emphasize the claimed success of the Russian defense-industrial base.

  • A Ukrainian military representative reported that Russian forces are using civilian infrastructure to repress the local population in the occupied territories.

Wagner PMC in Belarus:

After an unsuccessful coup attempt in Russia, a portion of Wagner PMC leader Yevgeny Prigozhin's fighters arrived in Belarus. Presently, there are over 3,500 mercenaries stationed there.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda believe that Wagner PMC mercenaries in Belarus might provoke incidents on the NATO country borders.

NATO officials stated that they do not see a direct or indirect threat from Russian mercenaries present in Belarus.

Earlier, U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller declared that the United States continues to monitor the movements and actions of Wagner mercenaries in Belarus.