Lukashenko: Wagner founder Prigozhin arrives in Belarus

Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin's jet was recorded landing in Belarus. Photo courtesy of Press service of Prigozhin/UPI
1 of 3 | Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin's jet was recorded landing in Belarus. Photo courtesy of Press service of Prigozhin/UPI | License Photo

June 27 (UPI) -- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed Tuesday that Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin has landed in Belarus.

Earlier a jet connected to Prigozhin was spotted landing in Belarus and Russian officials said did not know of Prigozhin's whereabouts, but Lukashenko said he had arrived in the country.


"Security guarantees, as he promised yesterday, were provided. I see that Prigozhin was already flying on this plane. Yes, indeed, he is in Belarus today," Lukashenko said, according to the Belta news agency.

Prigozhin's arrival in Belarus is part of a deal that mercenaries fighting for the Wagner Group have been given. They can sign up for the Russian army or join Prigozhinin Belarus after a called-off mutiny that saw its militants march on Moscow over the weekend.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he did not know how many of the fighters, who had proven critical during Russia's invasion of Ukraine for the past year, will join Russian defenses, move to Belarus or simply go home.

The treatment of Wagner Group fighters is part of a deal struck by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prigozhin to end the uprising on Saturday in which the mercenaries took control of a Russian town and began marching toward Moscow. It was an embarrassing turn for Russia, which continues to struggle to make new advances in Ukraine in a conflict that has gone on for more than a year.


On Tuesday, Putin praised Russian security services for preventing "a civil war."

"The people and the army were not on the side of the mutineers," Putin said outside the Kremlin with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, whom Prigozhin wanted to remove.

Putin acknowledged that Russian army pilots were killed by Wagner mercenaries in the uprising with a moment of silence. He did not say how many died, but pro-military bloggers said about 13 were killed.

Russia's Federal Security Services said Tuesday that criminal charges against the Wagner Group in connection with the rebellion have been dropped.

"Taking into account this and other circumstances relevant to the investigation, the investigative authority issued a resolution to terminate the criminal case on June 27," the FSB's public relations center said, according to the state-run news agency TASS.

Lukashenko said in a speech Tuesday it was "painful" to watch events unfold in Russia, and that he had put Belarusian troops and police on full alert during the crisis.

In an address on Monday, Putin accused Ukraine and its Western allies of wanting Russians to "kill each other," adding that Russia remained unified in the invasion and Prigozhin's mutiny was "doomed to fail."


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