Satellites see a probable Wagner base in Belarus

Satellite images published at the end of last week show activity at an old missile base near the Belarusian city of Osipovichi. Experts believe it is possible that the mercenaries from the Wagner group, who a week ago made an unsuccessful attempt at a military coup in Russia, are located there. 

Possible base of the Wagner group. Source: Planet Labs

Activity at the military base

On June 30, the Belarusian service of Radio Liberty published satellite images of a military base in the city of Osipovichi, which is located 90 km from Minsk. Previously, the 465th Missile Brigade of the armed forces of the country was located here. However, in 2018 it was moved, and since then this place has been abandoned. 

However, the images taken on June 27 clearly show large rows of something that looks very much like army tents and activity next to them. There is nothing like this in the images received on June 19, which proves that they appeared only a few days ago.

The time of the appearance of this military camp suggests that it may be a new base of mercenaries from the Wagner group who moved to Belarus. Experts’ opinions on this issue are divided. Some say that in the time that has passed since the mutiny, they simply could not have built anything there, others do not rule out such a possibility.

Changes at the military base. Source: Planet Labs

Why is everyone interested in “Wagner”

The Wagner Group is a private military company. It was established several years ago and was actually funded by the government of the Russian Federation. Its head is the odious oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin. The Russian government used Wagner in Syria and African countries when it formally needed troops there, but in fact it did not want to introduce them there.

With the beginning of a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, the PMC Wagner were used as assault infantry, where they demonstrated their brutality, which they became famous for even earlier. It was Wagner’s military, reinforced by prisoners, who stormed Bakhmut for several months, regardless of any losses.

However, on the evening of June 23, Prigozhin announced that Russian troops had attacked the camps of his mercenaries, and promised to take revenge. On the morning of June 24, Wagner captured the city of Rostov-na-Donu; its advanced columns were on the outskirts of Moscow in the evening.

It was at this point that Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko intervened in the case. Prigozhin stopped the attempted mutiny, and it soon became known that he had agreed to move to a formally still neutral country. As to how many mercenaries joined him, sources differ in their estimates. It is also unknown what part of the equipment “Wagner” managed to save.

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