Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in St Petersburg on Sunday. Lukashenko said that Wagner fighters who went to Belarus after the rebellion and trained the army were 'eager to go to the West'.
The Belarusian leader said that he was "keeping" Russian Wagner mercenaries in central Belarus and that Minsk was "controlling" the situation with the notorious fighters on its territory.
"They are asking to go West, ask me for permission... to go on a trip to Warsaw, to Rzeszow," Lukashenko said to Putin, who smiled. "But of course, I am keeping them in central Belarus, like we agreed."
"We are controlling what is happening (with Wagner)," he said, adding: "They are in a bad mood."
Poland has begun deploying additional troops to the Belarusian border in response to the threat of the Wagner mercenary group crossing the border.
The meeting came two days after Moscow said that any attack on its ally Belarus would be considered an attack on Russia. Putin said he would use all the means at his disposal in the face of any attack on Belarus.
His decision not to send troops to Ukraine but to allow Moscow to use Belarusian territory has led to close ties with Putin.
"There is no counteroffensive," Russian news agencies quoted Lukashenka as saying.
Putin replied: "It exists, but it has failed."
It was the first time Putin met his closest ally Lukashenko since an agreement was reached last month to end a rebellion by Wagner fighters in Russia.
Source: RFE/RL - Al Arabiya