The Mystery of Prigozin’s Whereabouts and the Wagner Group’s Role in the Russian-Ukraine Conflict

2023-07-14 15:08:38

[Voice of Hope, July 14, 2023](Comprehensive report by our reporter Ye Ting) After Prigozin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group, failed to lead the group’s mutiny, he no longer participated in the war against Ukraine in any important way. Wagner, once dominant, became an outcast of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

At this critical moment, U.S. President Biden shouted to Prigozin, warning him to be careful of being poisoned by Putin. At present, Prigozin’s whereabouts have once again become the focus of attention from the outside world.

While the NATO summit on July 11 and 12 focused on the war between Russia and Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific issue also attracted much attention. While condemning the CCP, it sent a clear signal to the CCP that it will launch “tailor-made partnerships” with its Indo-Pacific allies. project”.

The whereabouts of Prigozin are a mystery. The US Department of Defense: Wagner’s mercenaries are no longer the main players in the Russian invasion of Ukraine

After Prigozin, the head of the Wagner mercenary group, failed to lead the group’s mutiny, he no longer participated in the war against Ukraine in any important way. Prigozin’s whereabouts have been largely a mystery since he met Russian President Vladimir Putin after the mutiny. U.S. President Joe Biden has warned against Putin poisoning the group leader’s food.

“At this stage, we have not seen any significant involvement of Wagner’s forces in support of Ukrainian combat missions,” Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder told a news conference, according to AFP.

Ryder pointed to U.S. assessments that a “majority” of Wagner fighters remained in Russian-occupied Ukraine.

On Thursday (July 13), US President Biden joked at a press conference that Prigozin, the head of the Wagner Group, may have to be careful of any poisoning attempts by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Biden’s remarks came as he held a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in the Finnish capital Helsinki.

“If I were Prigozin, I would watch what I eat, and I would pay close attention to the menu,” Biden said.

According to a report by the political news website Politico, Biden made the above remarks because of concerns from all walks of life about Putin’s new extreme measures in Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.

In response to a reporter’s question, Biden said that he was not aware of Prigozin’s whereabouts, or the current relationship between Prigozin and Putin. Biden jokingly warned Prigozin to maintain a high level of vigilance in case May be poisoned.

“But jokes aside, who knows. I don’t know, I don’t think any of us know exactly what Prigozin’s future in Russia will be,” he said.

Putin has been repeatedly accused of poisoning political opponents. These include Russia’s military intelligence service (GRU), which poisoned former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in 2018, and Putin’s top domestic political opponent, Alexei Navalny. In 2020, Navalny was poisoned and nearly killed, and he accused Putin of being behind it.

Both cases were denied by Russian authorities.

Give a chance, don’t Prigozin reject Putin’s invitation to stay in the Russian military system

After the brief mutiny of the Wagner mercenary group, Putin made a suggestion to the officers and soldiers of the group that they could continue to stay and fight alongside the Russian army, but Putin’s proposal was flatly rejected by Prigozin, the head of the Wagner group.

According to, Putin accepted an interview with the Russian “Kommersant” newspaper. In an interview, Putin stated that as early as 5 days after the Wagner Group’s attempted mutiny, that is, on June 29, he had talks with Prigozin and 35 Wagner mercenaries in the Kremlin for 3 hours. According to reports, at the beginning of the mutiny, Putin was very eager to interview directly with grassroots Wagner fighters.

At that time, one of Putin’s proposals was that Wagner fighters could continue to work under the current commander. The commander’s radio call sign is said to be “Grey Hair”. Russia’s “Business Daily” stated that this is one of the future options Putin provided to Prigozin and Wagner fighters when he met with them, including staying under the original commander’s banner for 16 months.

“They can all gather in one place and carry on with their work,” the report quoted Putin as saying. “Nothing will change. They are still led by the same person who has always been their real commander.”

According to the report, as the supreme commander of the Russian army, Putin’s words seemed to imply that the Wagner Group could still remain in the Russian military system after the mutiny.

Putin also said, “When I said this, many of them nodded in agreement. However, Prigozin did not agree. Prigozin listened and said, ‘No, the soldiers will not agree to this. Decide”.”

After Prigozin rejected Putin’s invitation, the future direction of the Wagner Group no longer has more space from Putin.

According to the report, an interviewer once asked Putin: “Will Wagner still be a combat unit?” Putin said that the Wagner Group cannot continue to exist in its current form because Russia has no relevant legal sources for private troops.

Putin said, “I will be very cautious when I say that for Russian society, it is all very simple and obvious – grassroots Wagner fighters want to fight for dignity … and the fact is that they are involved in This incident is regrettable.”

“We are increasingly breaking down barriers between America’s Atlantic allies and Pacific allies,” was the message delivered by Julianne Smith, the US ambassador to NATO, on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Lithuania.

NATO issued a strongly worded communiqué during the summit that mentioned China several times. Condemn the CCP and Russia for deepening their strategic partnership and attempting to strengthen each other and undermine the international order.

The communiqué stresses that China’s “overt ambition and policy of coercion” “challenge NATO’s interests, security and values”.

The CCP’s response to this was quite swift. In a statement on Tuesday (July 11), the spokesperson of the Chinese Mission to the European Union accused NATO of not thinking about reflection, blindly criticizing, and meddling in foreign affairs. The CCP even warned NATO not to “go east into the Asia-Pacific.”

Although the United States is defining the boundaries of NATO’s engagement with the Indo-Pacific region, and the NATO bloc is also concerned about the challenge posed by China, this does not indicate that NATO intends to invite Asian countries to join the alliance.

Smith, the US ambassador to NATO, accepted an exclusive interview with Voice of America (VOA) on Wednesday (July 12). “We will not add members from the Indo-Pacific region,” she said.

But she said NATO was rolling out “tailor-made partnership programs” with its Indo-Pacific allies. Responding to Chinese authorities’ criticism of the NATO communiqué, she said that increased cooperation with Indo-Pacific allies does not mean that they will formally join the alliance.

Smith pointed to a NATO initiative with Japan called the Individualized Partnership Program (ITPP) as an example of deepening partnerships with the Indo-Pacific.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday the cooperation would go beyond traditional security to include cyber, emerging and disruptive technologies and strategic communications. Speaking alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Kishida said the new arrangement was a response to challenges in the international security environment.

“Japan and NATO agree that unilateral attempts to change the status quo through force or coercion are unacceptable anywhere in the world,” Kishida said.

However, as early as May this year when Kishida hosted the Group of Seven (G7) summit of the world’s richest democracies in Hiroshima, Japan, he had stated that Japan had no plan to become a member of NATO.

Editor in charge: Lin Li

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