Kyiv to demand extradition of Wagner mercenaries detained in Belarus to Ukraine
Ukrainian authorities intend to demand the extradition of militants detained in Belarus, Interfax-Ukraine reports, citing the press service of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU).
"The SBU will submit the request for extradition of militants detained in Belarus," the press service stated.
Deputy Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Serhii Kryvonos also said that Kyiv may demand the extradition of Ukrainian-born people among those detained in Belarus.
"This issue is being discussed. That would be nice," Kryvonos said. According to him, the extradition of the detainees "would strengthen relations between Ukraine and Belarus" and would "deter the enemies from using the territory of the neighbors as a springboard for actions against Ukraine."
On July 29, the Belarusian authorities reported that 33 mercenaries from the Russian private military company the Wagner Group were detained near Minsk. The search for other 200 "militants" is underway. The BelTA agency published a full list of detainees, all of them were Russians.
However, later the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said that some of the detained "militants" have Ukrainian citizenship and participated in fighting in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry invited the heads of diplomatic missions of Russia and Ukraine for the conversation. Representatives of the Foreign Ministry met with Russian Ambassador Dmitry Mezentsev and the Charge d'Affaires of Ukraine Peter Vrublevsky.
Following the meeting, Belarus and Ukraine agreed to strengthen the entry measures at the border "in order to prevent destabilization of the situation in both countries." In addition, the parties agreed to intensify cooperation between border agencies.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that all the detainees are Russians, Moscow does not recognize their Ukrainian citizenship. Whan asked about their possible extradition to Ukraine, Peskov said: "We must first understand what they are accused of." In addition, the Russian President's spokesman called the information that "some organizations from Russia are sending someone to destabilize" the situation in Belarus, insinuations.