The Ukrainian special services planned in advance the long stay of 33 detained Russians in Minsk so that it looked like the transfer of PMC employees to organize riots during the election campaign. The site kp.ru writes about this on August 6.
The Russian side managed to establish that in May some people began recruiting former members of private military companies, allegedly to protect facilities in Libya. In total, about 180 volunteers were recruited. In early June, they were informed of the death of one of the curators, who was replaced by a man who introduced himself as “Arthur”. He contacted the wards using a virtual number copying the number of the Russian consulate in Venezuela. The man said that the goals have changed and volunteers instead of Libya will be sent to Venezuela, ostensibly to work on “Rosneft projects”.
As a result, five groups were formed. One of them was to be transferred to Venezuela by sea, and the other four were to go to Minsk and from there fly first to Istanbul, and then to Havana and Caracas.
The first group mainly included persons who had previously fought in the Donbass. It was assumed that she would fly from Minsk on July 25. All tickets were allegedly issued through Russian travel agencies, but when checked, it turned out that they were bought in Ukrainian agencies for cash. On July 20, at the request of the Kiev company, tickets for the first group were canceled and rebooked for July 30, and its leader was not informed about this.
Before the flight, he received an order from the curator of “Artur” to destroy the already invalid tickets and not fly to Istanbul. This was due to the lack of a connecting flight in Havana, but, according to kp.ru, in fact, the indication was dictated by the fear that the presence of tickets would become evidence of the involvement of the Ukrainian special services in the operation.
A certain “Larisa Samarina” (her identity has not yet been precisely established), who introduced herself as an employee of the Russian Embassy in Istanbul, was organizing the movements of the groups. It is known that on July 23 she had reserved places for the first group in the Belorusochka sanatorium for the period from July 24 to July 29, where the volunteers had been staying since July 25.
On July 29, the entire group was detained. The lists of the detainees were promptly transferred to the Ukrainian embassy in Minsk, which explains the prompt adjustment on the site “Peacemaker”, where 12 people from the “Shaman” group were added, the newspaper writes. In addition, the Belarusian media reported that 33 Russians did not show up for the flight on July 25, which is a lie, since their tickets were canceled.
On July 29, near Minsk, they detained 33 Russians who are allegedly employees of the Wagner PMC. State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus Andrei Ravkov stated that some of the detainees had “Ukrainian citizenship”. In Minsk, the incident was allegedly associated with the arrival of more than 200 people in Belarus “to destabilize the situation during the election campaign.”
The Russian Federation noted that the Russians were going to fly to Istanbul, but were late for the plane. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko rejected this version.
A criminal case has been initiated against the detainees on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack. They chose a preventive measure in the form of detention.