Prigozhin apparently sets the course for the future of the mercenary group

2023-07-31 09:04:50

“Today we are defining our next tasks, the outlines of which are becoming increasingly clear,” said an audio message in Gray Zone, an account attributed to Wagner on the short message service Telegram, on Monday. The voice sounded like Prigozhin’s. Accordingly, Wagner is currently not recruiting fighters, but will probably do so again in the future. Prigozhin announced in mid-July that his fighters would no longer take part in Russia’s “disgrace” in Ukraine. After months of publicly expressing his dissatisfaction with the Russian military leadership, Prigozhin rebelled against them at the end of June and marched towards Moscow. Publicly branded a traitor by Kremlin boss Vladimir Putin, Prigozhin broke off his march. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he had previously agreed with Putin that Prigozhin and his mercenaries could go into exile in Belarus.

Since then there has been conflicting information about the future of the Wagner group. Putin himself reported meeting top Wagner officials at the end of June. Prigozhin rejected the offer that the mercenary group should continue to exist under new leadership. While the Wagner mercenaries moved into a camp in Belarus and trained Belarusian soldiers there, Prigozhin, contrary to original information, is not in the country. He is said to remain in his hometown of St. Petersburg, where he recently met top representatives from African states on the fringes of the Russia-Africa summit. Prigozhin is deployed with his private army in many African countries to represent Russian interests in addition to his own business interests.

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