The Belarus military is deploying additional troops to the border with Russia over invasion concerns.
The Novaya Gazeta newspaper has shared a short video showing a convoy of military trucks and armored vehicles moving towards the Russian border.
Official Minsk fears that Russia may take advantage of the instability in the country and carry out the Ukrainian scenario to occupy part of the territories ahead of August’s presidential election.
The state-controlled Belta news agency said last week that Belarus has arrested dozens of Russian mercenaries after receiving information that more than 200 fighters had entered the country to destabilize it before a presidential election. The mercenaries worked for Wagner, Russia’s best-known private military contractor.
“The guests drew attention to themselves because they did not behave like Russian tourists usually do and wore military-style clothing,” Belta reported.
The group arrived in Minsk on July 24, it said, noting that each man carried small hand luggage only, but that the group had three big heavy suitcases.
State TV showed the men being arrested in their underwear and broadcast footage of one man’s belongings which included a Russian passport, military-style patches and US dollar bills.
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka accused Russia of “dirty intentions” and instructed KGB security service chief Valer Vakulchyk to seek an explanation from Moscow.
“We need to urgently ask the relevant structures of the Russian Federation to explain what’s going on,” he said at a security meeting.
The Belarusian president also said that political forces from “both the West and from the East” had concentrated their efforts on precipitating unrest in Belarus.
Lukashenko did not name a specific country, but he said the plans were underway to foment a revolution akin to Ukraine’s Maidan square protests of 2014.
“That was the goal. The masks were torn not only from certain puppets we had here but also from puppeteers who sit outside Belarus,” Lukashenko said.