Wagner members' extradition from Belarus to Russia an unfriendly step
The extradition of the Wagner Group fighters from Belarus to Russia is an unfriendly step in relation to Ukraine, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Oleksiy Danilov has said.
"Unfortunately, the Belarusian government made an unlawful decision that does not comply with the spirit of bilateral relations and is an unfriendly step in relation to Ukraine," he said in a commentary on the situation with the return of the previously detained Wagner fighters to Russia, according to the NSDC's Facebook page.
Danilov said that this decision will have a negative impact on relations between Ukraine and Belarus, as long as Ukraine has collected a sufficient number of evidence proving the Wagner fighters' participation in the armed conflict in Donbas in the composition of Russia-led illegal armed formations.
On August 11, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (PGO) sent a request for the Prosecutor General's Office of Belarus for handover of 28 men detained by Belarusian law enforcers on July 29, 2020. All of these 28 men, nine of whom are Ukrainian citizens, were notified of suspicion of participation in a terrorist organization under Part 1 of Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
The NSDC said that the law and respect for legal procedures required from Belarus a different decision on the Wagner Group fighters.
"For our part, we should note that Ukraine will find time and an opportunity, having a sufficient evidentiary base, to bring all of those guilty of committing crimes in our territory to criminal liability, no matter in which country they are hiding," Danilov said.