Belarus possibly forming Wagner-like mercenary organisation: oppositionist

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The Belarusian security company Gardservis, associated with the Minsk regime, has been training in military sites for several months now and could potentially become the equivalent of the Russian Wagner Group, says Valery Sakhashchyk, an associate of Belarusian opposition leader, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

Sakhashchyk told the Ukrainian editorial office of Deutsche Welle that Gardservis has significantly increased the number of employees in recent days, and may even exceed 1,000 people. They are training under supervision of the officers of the 5th brigade of special forces.

The oppositionist estimates that Gardservis employees are prepared for combat, and they can be used in sabotage actions also then for assault.

“The preparation and recruitment of personnel have been going on for several months. Officers, ensigns, sergeants and soldiers who served in special operations forces and special forces departments have been added to the staff,” said Tsikhanouskaya associate.

Earlier, Sakhashchyk said that Vladimir Putin had “invested a considerable sum” in Gardserwis and made it “the Belarusian equivalent of the Wagner Group”.

In October 2010, independent media in Belarus informed that mercenaries from the Wagner Group had come to Minsk to train Belarusian security guards. Belarusian journalist Aleksei Karpienka told a German radio station however that these reports could not be confirmed.

Deutsche Welle informs that Gardservis, founded in 2020, is the only security company that, under the decree of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, can use firearms. According to Karpenko, this company had made its appearance before the presidential elections in Belarus “in case of a scenario unfavourable for Lukashenka”. Gardservis would employ former law enforcement officers, but of those, only “proven” people.

Sakhashchyk is a representative for defence and national security in the interim government appointed by Tsikhanouskaya - the executive body of the Belarusian opposition.