Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is back in Russia, says Belarus’ Lukashenko

The head of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is back in Russia after a failed uprising, according to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.

Announcement details: Lukashenko, speaking from Minsk on Thursday, revealed that Prigozhin, who was previously offered protection in Belarus, is no longer in the country and is now in St. Petersburg, Russia.
* Lukashenko also mentioned that Wagner mercenaries have yet to relocate to Belarus, with the decision still pending in Moscow.
* These claims could not be independently verified.

Backstory: The announcement adds to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Prigozhin’s location following a Wagner amnesty deal with Russia to end the rebellion.
* Prigozhin had promised to withdraw his troops under the agreement, and was supposed to be exiled to Belarus, though Russian officials labelled him a “traitor.”
* The exact terms of the amnesty deal have been brought into question with Prigozhin’s alleged return to Russia.

Aftermath of the uprising: Wagner’s attempted rebellion led to the temporary seizure of the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, before they withdrew.
* A Telegram channel linked to the Wagner Group recently posted an audio message claimed to be from Prigozhin, in which he suggested a continued role in the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

Final note: The Kremlin has not confirmed Prigozhin’s current location.
* Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that they do not track Prigozhin’s movements and have no desire or means to do so.

View original article on NPR

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