Prigozhin arrives in Belarus, says Lukashenko

27 June, 06:36 PM
Yevhen Prigozhin leaves Rostov-on-Don, June 24, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Yevhen Prigozhin leaves Rostov-on-Don, June 24, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Wagner mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin has arrived in Belarus after the Wagner PMC mutiny, Belarusian news agency BelTA quoted Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko as saying on June 27.

“Security guarantees, as he (Russian dictator Vladimir Putin) vowed yesterday, have been provided,” Lukashenko said.

“I see Prigozhin is already flying on this plane. Yes, indeed, he is in Belarus today. As I promised, if you want to stay with us for a while and so on, we’ll help you. Of course, at their (mercenaries’) expense.”

Video of day

At the same time, Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin claimed that he “would not mind such a unit in the army.”

Lukashenko claims that he “agrees” and has already suggested that Khrenin open a dialogue with the mercenary company.

Prigozhin’s plane landed in Belarus on June 27, the Belarusian Hajun monitoring group reported on Telegram, noting that Prigozhin’s business jet (registration No. RA-02795) landed at the Machulishchy military airfield outside Minsk at 7:40 a.m.

Mark Warner, chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, claimed that Prigozhin was being accommodated in a windowless hotel room in Minsk.

The Wagner mutiny: what we know

Prigozhin announced the beginning of an armed conflict with the Russian Defense Ministry on the evening of June 23, claiming that he wanted to “restore justice” in Russia.

He said that the Russian army struck the mercenaries’ “rear camp.” However, the conflict between Prigozhin and Shoigu had started months earlier.

For the past few months, the Wagner leader has been persistently demanding the resignation of the Russian defense minister, accusing him of poor management of the Russian armed forces and of not supplying enough ammunition to Wagner forces.

The next day, Wagner forces seized control over the main military facilities in the cities of Rostov-on-Don and Voronezh. They also shot down seven Russian Air Force aircraft.

Prigozhin then demanded meetings with Russia’s top military leadership and threatened to “advance towards Moscow” in a video address shot in Rostov-on-Don.

Putin, in turn, posted a video address saying that the Russian Armed Forces had ordered to eliminate those who led the “rebellion”.

The Wagnerites’ convoys nevertheless moved towards Moscow in a “march for justice,” as Prigozhin called it.

The FSB charged Prigozhin with “inciting insurrection,” while the security forces were preparing to defend Moscow. Putin is believed to have fled the capital to his residence in Valdai, northwest of Moscow.

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko held talks with Prigozhin as his mercenaries closed in on Moscow, Lukashenko’s press office stated, culminating in a deal where Prigozhin agreed to halt his forces’ advance on the Russian capital – in exchange for dropping charges and changes at the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Soon after, Prigozhin ordered Wagner mercenaries to turn back from Moscow and return to their combat positions.

The Kremlin soon announced that the criminal case against Prigozhin would be closed, and he himself would “go to Belarus.”

In a video address on June 26, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin offered three options to the fighters of the Wagner mercenary company who had participated in the mutiny attempt: to continue their service by signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense, return to their homes in Russia, or go to Belarus.

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