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President Wagner is “free” in Russia, not Belarus

President Wagner is “free” in Russia, not Belarus

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Thursday that the head of the Wagner paramilitary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, remains “at liberty” in Russia, despite the agreement that he should leave for Belarus after his aborted June 24 insurrection.

“As for Prigozhin, he is in St. Petersburg. Where is he this morning? He may have gone to Moscow, or somewhere else, but he is not on Belarusian soil,” Mr. Lukashenko said during a news conference.

“I know for sure that he is free,” he said, claiming that he had a telephone conversation “yesterday” with Mr. Prigogine, who assured him, according to Alexander Lukashenko, that he would continue to work for Russia.

“What will happen to him next? Do you think Putin is upset and will kill him tomorrow? No, this will not happen, “the Belarusian president declared.

According to him, the Wagner fighters are also “in their camps” and are not in Belarus “at the moment.”

“whether [le gouvernement russe et le groupe Wagner] They deemed it necessary to deploy a number of Wagner fighters to Belarus for rest or training […] Then I will apply my resolution ‘to welcome them.

If it is necessary to use this unit [Wagner] To defend the government [bélarusse], it will be done instantly in any sector. He insisted that their experience would be used in Belarus.

Regarding the transfer of Russian nuclear weapons to Belarus, he claimed that they would only be used for “defensive purposes”. “We do not plan to attack anyone with nuclear weapons,” he said, vowing an “immediate” response if his country was attacked.

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“I don’t think Wagner will revolt and turn his weapons against the Belarusian state,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

Wagner’s rebellion, led on June 24, shook the Russian power, in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine.

For several hours, Wagner fighters occupied the headquarters of the Russian army in Rostov-on-Don (southwest) and drove several hundred kilometers towards Moscow.

The rebellion ended on the evening of 24 June with an agreement that Mr. Prigozhin would leave for Belarus, but his exact whereabouts have not been known since then. He has not spoken publicly since June 26.

Yevgeny Prigogine maintained that his uprising was not aimed at overthrowing power, but to save Wagner from being dismantled by the Russian General Staff, whom he accuses of incompetence in the conflict in Ukraine.