Ukraine is committed to prosecuting at the national level Russian mercenaries, including those with the infamous Wagner Private Military Company, says Deputy Prosecutor General Gunduz Mamedov.
Asked by RFE/RL's Ukrainian service, what could be Ukraine's further actions regarding the Wagner troops, Mamedov noted: "The fact that the suspects were handed over to the Russian Federation doesn't fundamentally change the situation. We have collected a sufficient evidentiary basis related to their crimes committed during the armed conflict in Donbas."
Read alsoU.S. responds to Putin's allegations of trying to destabilize BelarusCharges have been pressed against all of them, Mamedov said, adding that Ukraine "|will be prosecuting them at the national level and applying other instruments of criminal procedure, including international ones."
Wagner PMC exposed in Belarus
- On July 29, 2020, 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.
- Belarusian law enforcement said 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 Russian President 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 mercenaries.
- 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.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Belarus' move a "strange, politically incorrect, and definitely unacceptable thing to do in friendly interstate relations."
- The move by Belarus government was among factors that led to Kyiv putting on pause its official contacts with Minsk.