The group of soldiers of the Wagner private military corporation that has just moved to Belarus is believed to be under the command of Sergey Chubko, a native of Ukraine who has fought in Chechnya, Syria.
Tycoon Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin on July 19 told his group of mercenaries in a barracks near the city of Asipovichy (Belarus) that a person with the surname Sergey, known by the alias “Pioneer”, would be their leader in Belarus.
Wagner’s activity monitoring project, All Eyes on Wagner, cites documents obtained from an unnamed source as 46-year-old Sergey Vladimirovich Chubko.
The Belarusian publication Nasha Niva also found that Chubko was born into a military family in Chernivtsi. His father fought in Afghanistan. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, his family moved to Novorossiysk, Russia. In 1994, Sergey Chubko enlisted in the Russian army and fought in Chechnya.
In 2002, he terminated his contract and transferred to a private security company. In 2003, Sergey was unexpectedly named to head the Novorossiysk city government council. In 2005, he transferred to the deputy administrative office of the district.
In 2010, Chubko returned to work as a security officer in several companies, as well as an employee of a private security company. By 2011, authorities planned to strip Chubko of his Russian citizenship because he was accused of concealing his Ukrainian citizenship.
It is not clear whether Chubko fought in Ukraine in 2014, but in December 2014 he became one of the founders of the Novorossiysk Cossack organization. Cossack volunteers massively switched to fighting for Russia after Donetsk and Lugansk declared secession in 2014.
He joined Wagner in January 2017. He then went to Syria, where he was appointed commander of Wagner’s military campaign in Eastern Ghouta after a year of service with the organization.
Wagner is a private military company in Russia. After the failed rebellion in late June, tycoon Prigozhin agreed to move to Belarus with an unspecified number of Wagner soldiers.
An independent military source said that as of July 25, a total of 11 Wagner convoys had arrived in Belarus, carrying gunmen and weapons.
Ukraine’s Border Guard Service estimates that some 5,000 Wagner mercenaries are already in Belarus. With this scale, Ukraine believes that Wagner cannot pose any significant threat to them.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed that Wagner has begun training the country’s military units. He also said that, if necessary, Wagner can assist Belarus in strengthening border security. He even said that Belarusian authorities felt tension because Wagner wanted to send forces into Poland, a member of NATO.
Wagner’s presence in Belarus, which shares borders with Ukraine and Poland, has raised concerns in the West about security instability in the region.