The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) has sent requests to the Prosecutor General's Office of Belarus to extradite 28 members of Russia's Private Military Company (PMC) Wagner.
"On August 11, the PGO sent the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus requests for the extradition of 28 people detained by the law enforcement agencies of Belarus on July 29," the PGO's press service said on the official website on August 12.
All 28 detainees, including nine citizens of Ukraine, were notified they were charged with involvement in a terrorist organization (Part 1 of Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).
Kyiv's Shevchenkivsky District Court held hearings on their case in absentia and chose detention as a pretrial restriction for the suspects.
Ukrainian investigators established that the individuals had taken an active part in hostilities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions as part of the terrorist organizations, "Luhansk People's Republic" ("LPR") and "Donetsk People's Republic"("DPR").
The extradition of the requested persons will be decided by the authorities of Belarus.
Detention of PMC Wagner members near Minsk: Background
- On July 29, fighters from PMC Wagner were detained in Belarus. Thirty-two were apprehended outside Minsk, and one more was detained in the south of the country. The detainees included those who fought against Ukraine in Donbas.
- Belarus' law enforcement agencies reported that they had received information about the arrival of more than 200 fighters to destabilize the situation during the presidential election campaign in that country. Each man carried a small piece of hand luggage and there were three heavy suitcases, which were loaded into a vehicle by several men.
- Belarus asked the Ukrainian authorities to verify the involvement of the detainees in committing crimes in Ukraine.
- On July 30, Ukraine began consultations with Belarus on the extradition of the detained fighters.