Putin calls Lukashenko to discuss detention of Russian mercenaries in Belarus

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko held a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reported Putin's press service.

According to the press service, the Presidents "exchanged views" on the recent detention in Belarus of 33 mercenaries of the private military company the Wagner group".

"The sides expressed confidence that the situation will be resolved in a spirit of mutual understanding characteristic of cooperation between the two countries," Putin's press service reported.

Putin also stressed that Russia is "interested in maintaining a stable domestic political situation in Belarus" and holding elections in a "calm environment."

At the same time, Lukashenko's press service states that the conversation took place at Putin's initiative.

"One of the main topics of conversation was the detention of 33 Russian citizens in the territory of Belarus. The sides emphasized their desire to deal with the situation in the most serious way. The presidents agreed to examine every existing fact as thoroughly as possible in order to establish the true causes of the situation, to find the culprits and to bring them to justice," the Belarusian President's press service says.

On July 29, 33 Russians, allegedly members of the Russian Private Military Company the Wagner Group, were detained near Minsk. Belarusian media reported that the country's law enforcement agencies were informed about the arrival of more than 200 militants in Belarus "to destabilize the situation during the election campaign." The Russians first stayed in one of the hotels in Minsk, and then moved to a resort near Minsk.

Deputy Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security Council Serhiy Kryvonos said that Ukraine can demand the extradition of its natives detained in Belarus along with other militants. The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) confirmed its intention to request their extradition. Putin's spokesman said Russia does not recognize the Ukrainian citizenship of the detained militants.

  Wagner Group, Putin, Lukashenko, Belarus