President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky spoke about the extradition of Wagner militants during his telephone conversation with the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in August 2020. Zelensky did not report on a special operation, the adviser to the President’s Office head Mykhaylo Podolyak stated, as Hromadske reports.
According to Podolyak, during the telephone conversation on August 5, Zelensky warned Lukashenko that Ukraine would not accept any option other than Wagner Group extradition to Ukraine. At that time, fighters had been detained for a week.
“At that time, the Wagner militants had been under arrest in Belarus for more than a week. Lukashenko promised to hand over them to Ukraine but he chose another variant. That is why even after that, Ukrainian President had no contacts with Lukashenko,” Podolyak said.
As it was reported earlier, on July 29, 2020, Belarusian security forces detained more than thirty militants of the Kremlin-controlled unofficial private military company Wagner. Some of them fought on the separatists' forces side in Donbas.
Contrary to Ukraine's request for the extradition of these mercenaries, Minsk decided to send them home.
In an interview with Russia-1 TV channel, Putin said that the special services of Ukraine and the United States were involved in the detention of 33 people from Wagner Group in Belarus.
On June 24, Volodymyr Zelensky denied Ukrainian special services' involvement in the preparation of an operation in order to detain the mercenaries. He stated this in an interview for the ‘VIP with Natalya Moseychuk’s program on the 1+1 channel.