Belarus said Monday it had downed a Ukrainian drone on the border between the two countries, days after Minsk confirmed the arrival of Russian Wagner fighters on its territory.

The Moscow-allied country said it would house Wagner troops, who spearheaded Russia's advance in some key battles in Ukraine, after their failed rebellion in Russia last month.

"A border security unit on duty on the Dnipro River discovered a drone that had violated the state border from Ukrainian territory," the Belarusian Border Committee said.

"The drone was used for the reconnaissance of the border area of the Republic of Belarus," it added in a statement.

It said the drone was intercepted in the Braginsky area in the southeastern corner of Belarus, where the Dnipro River flows near the border between the two neighbours.


Border guards had downed the drone into the water using electronic air defence systems, the committee said.

On Friday, Minsk said instructors from the Wagner mercenary group were training its troops, following weeks of uncertainty about the whereabouts and future of the group.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko brokered a deal last month to end Wagner's short-lived rebellion in Russia.

Under the agreement, Wagner fighters and their outspoken leader Yevgeny Prigozhin were supposed to move to Belarus.

Lukashenko allowed Russia to use Belarusian territory to launch the offensive on Ukraine last year.

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