Zelensky and Lukashenko discuss extradition to Ukraine of Wagner mercenaries detained in Belarus

Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky held a telephone conversation with the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, reported the Ukrainian presidential press service.

"The presidents discussed in detail the issues related to the detention in Belarus at the end of July of a group of persons belonging to the Russian private military company the Wagner Group. The importance of further effective cooperation between the authorities of the two states, in particular in the context of the transfer to Ukraine of persons suspected of terrorist activities in the territory of our country, was noted," the statement reads.

Zelensky said that he is confident that those involved in the illegal armed groups in the Donbas will not be able to avoid a just punishment.

"I hope that all suspects of terrorist activities in Ukraine will be handed over to us to face criminal charges in accordance with the current international laws," he said.

In addition, the presidents discussed the preparations for the Third Forum of the regions of Ukraine and Belarus, which is to be held this fall. The sides also discussed the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in both countries.

Zelensky expressed his personal gratitude to Lukashenko for the humanitarian aid provided in July to the people of the western regions of Ukraine affected by the floods. "This gesture of true friendship of Belarus once again underlines the value of partnership between our countries," Zelensky said.

On July 29, Belarusian law enforcement officers detained 33 people who are representatives of the Russian private military company the Wagner Group. Among those detained are militants from the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and former employees of the Ukrainian Special Police Berkut

Nine of detained are natives of Ukraine, they have been charged with taking part in a terrorist organization (Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code). Ukraine has already sent a request for the extradition of these Wagner mercenaries from Belarus.

On August 3, the Russian consul said that the Russians detained near Minsk were waiting for a flight to to Latin America. Lukashenko denied this information.

  Lukashenko, Belarus, Ukraine, Wagner Group