Tensions escalate as Wagner Group leader’s jet lands in Belarus for third time

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An aircraft belonging to Yevgeny Prigozhin, Russian oligarch, and the leader of the Wagner Group, landed in Belarus in the morning hours of August 3, 2023, according to Belarusian monitoring group Belaruski Hayun. 

This is the third trip this private jet, registered as RA-02878, has taken to Belarus since the Wagner Group’s mutiny on 23 June 2023. 

According to the flight-tracking website Flightradar24.com, the aircraft arrived at the Machulishchi military airfield from St. Petersburg Pulkovo Airport (LED/ULLI) in Russia. 

Another aircraft, a Beech C90GTi King Air, also made its way to the Machulishchi airfield shortly after Prigozhin’s jet.

The Belarusian authorities have reportedly permitted the Wagner Group to establish a camp in the village of Tsel, which is a former military base, located about 90 kilometers from the Machulishchi. 

The increased activity of the Wagner Group in Belarus has not gone unnoticed by Ukraine. 

“The Security Service of Ukraine established that Russia wants to use the ‘Wagnerians’ to involve Belarus in a full-scale war against Ukraine,” the Security Service of Ukraine stated in a Telegram post on August 4, 2023. 

“According to available data, the preparation of the terrorist attack is being carried out by a sabotage and intelligence group made up of personnel of the Russian Armed Forces and employees of the Russian special services, who were sent to the territory of Belarus under the guise of ‘Wagnerians’,” the statement added. 

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