Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has referred to Belarus' decision to hand over to Russia the group of Wagner Private Military Company troops, earlier detained in Minsk, "unfair, to put it mildly".
The head of state took to social networks to post the relevant statement, employing caps lock to stress his point.
In my opinion, this is a strange, politically incorrect, and definitely unacceptable thing to do in friendly interstate relations
"In my opinion, this is a strange, politically incorrect, and definitely unacceptable thing to do in friendly interstate relations," Zelensky wrote on Facebook.
"First, speaking out publicly of Ukraine's alleged interference in Belarus' internal processes. This was definitely not the case. And secondly, PEOPLE WHO ARE ACTUALLY INVOLVED IN DEFINITE INTERFERENCE IN THE AFFAIRS BOTH OF BELARUS AND UKRAINE - primarily Ukraine - ARE DEMONSTRATIVELY HANDED OVER," Zelensky wrote.
God help the Belarusian authorities not to have another burning blood-shedding Donbas on their territory that all those Wagner troops are able to create
He added that "this is a bad story, in which trust, objectivity, and adequate assessment of the negative consequences were clearly neglected."
Zelensky said that Belarus had left without response the appeal of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office to extradite to Kyiv 28 fighters with the Russian PMC, who had been active participants in the war against Ukraine.
Read alsoLukashenko makes "choice in favor of Russia": MFA Ukraine reacts to Wagner PMC fighters' extradition"We consider such a decision unfair, to put it mildly, one that doesn't correspond to the spirit of relations between Ukraine and Belarus that are based on the principles of respect and mutual assistance," the president said in the statement.
Zelensky warned of "tragic consequences" the decision could entail as Wagner troops will once again get back to their usual thing of "spreading war".
"God help the Belarusian authorities not to have another burning blood-shedding Donbas on their territory that all those Wagner troops are able to create," Zelensky stressed.
Wagner PMC in Belarus
- On July 29, a group of militants with the Wagner PMC were detained in Belarus, 32 – outside Minsk, another one – in the south of the country.
- Among them were those who fought against Ukraine in the Donbas war.
- According to Belarusian law enforcement, they had been tipped about the deployment of over 200 militants to destabilize the country amid the election campaign.
- Belarus turned to the Ukrainian authorities to verify the involvement of the detainees in crimes committed in Ukraine.
- On July 30, Ukraine began consultations with Belarus on the extradition.
- On August 7, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus said Ukraine must prove the guilt of the detained mercenaries to seal extradition.
- On August 9, Lukashenko said he had received a five-page letter from Vladimir Putin with information on the situation around the detention of Wagner troops.
- On August 11, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine sent inquiries to their Belarus counterparts appealing for the extradition of 28 fighters with the Wagner PMC. All 28, including nine citizens of Ukraine, had been charged with participation in a terrorist organization.
- On August 14, Belarus handed 32 Wagner troops over to Russia.