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Lukashenko claims Prigozhin back in Russia

by Martin Fornusek July 6, 2023 12:16 PM 2 min read
Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko attends a joint exercise of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus outside Minsk on Feb. 17, 2022, a week prior to the start of a full-scale invasion. (Getty Images)
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Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko claims that the Wagner Group's founder Yevgeny Prigozhin is back in Russia, Reuters reported on July 6.

"As for Prigozhin, he's in St. Petersburg. He is not on the territory of Belarus," Lukashenko told reporters.

He added, however, that his previous offer to Wagner mercenaries to come to Belarus still stands.

Prigozhin and his contractors were said to leave for Belarus after their rebellion on June 23-24 ended in an undisclosed treaty, allegedly brokered by Lukashenko.

On June 27, the Belarusian dictator said that the mercenary boss has arrived in the country shortly after reports that Prigozhin's business jet landed at the Machulishchy military airfield near Minsk.

Already the same day, however, the independent monitoring group Belaruski Hajun said that the oligarch's plane left back to Russia, though it was unclear whether Prigozhin was on board.

While the presence of the Wagner mercenaries in Belarus is not confirmed, the group's recruitment centers suspended their activities in Russia on account of their alleged transfer to Belarus.

Satellite images by Planet Labs also revealed what appears to be a new military-style camp in Belarus over 200 km from Ukraine's border. According to Belarusian anti-government groups, these facilities may be used to house Wagner contractors, the Associated Press wrote.

Several NATO members have called for reinforcing the Alliance's eastern flank in reaction to the Wagner Group's re-deployment.

Poland to reinforce Belarusian border with counterterrorism forces
Poland will reinforce its border with Belarus with 500 policemen and counterterrorism forces due to the tense situation in the area, Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński reported on July 2.

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