Satellite images give the impression that construction work is underway in Belarus for the Wagner militia

Satellite images give the impression that construction work is underway in Belarus for the Wagner militia

Satellite imagery shows a newly established military base in southeast Minsk, Belarus.Image via Reuters

For the first time, there are indications that preparations are being made in Belarus to house the soldiers of Wagner’s army. Satellite images from a military base near Osipovichi in Belarus show that construction has been going on since the beginning of this week. Local officials in the area confirmed in news reports that preparations were underway to house Wagner’s forces.

Dozens of small structures appeared in empty fields around buildings in the camp from Monday to Tuesday, similar to soldiers’ tents in shape and arrangement. The latest Planet Labs satellite imagery is from last Tuesday and isn’t very high quality, which makes it hard to see the details. High-resolution images were taken on Wednesday and Thursday, but nothing is visible due to clouds in the area.

Abandoned military camps

Wagner’s army’s mutiny ended unexpectedly Saturday in an agreement not to legally prosecute the private army in Russia. This agreement was reached with the help of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who mediated between Wagner leader Prigozhin and the Russian government. As part of the deal, Wagner’s army is set to leave Russia and settle in Belarus. Last Tuesday, Lukashenko stated that Wagner leader Prigozhin had already done so.

It is still not clear if and how many Wagner soldiers left for Belarus. As far as we know, there are no photos available yet of soldiers in Belarus. Satellite images are the first indication that preparations for habitation are underway.

“according to plan”

The independent Russian mediator Verstka reported that the army base near Osipovichi should house 8,000 Wagner soldiers. The camp is located 200 kilometers from the Ukrainian-Belarusian border. It will be one of the many camps in Belarus, where Prigozhin’s soldiers are supposed to end up. An official in the area where the army base is located confirmed to a Belarusian Telegram channel that work was going on “according to plan” for the arrival of the Wagner militia.

In his speech last Tuesday, Lukashenko said he was showing the abandoned Wagner military camps. “There is a fence, everything is there, go ahead and put up tents there,” the Belarusian president said.

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