Belarus’s president, Aleksandr Lukashenko, has stated that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner group, is currently in Russia. This statement comes after weeks of uncertainty about Prigozhin’s whereabouts, following his failed rebellion against Moscow’s military leadership.
In a rare interview with reporters, Lukashenko mentioned that Prigozhin was in his hometown of St. Petersburg as of yesterday morning, contradicting his earlier claims that Prigozhin had arrived in Belarus. However, the accuracy of Lukashenko’s statement could not be verified.
These comments have added to the confusion surrounding the aftermath of the rebellion, which posed a significant challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s authority. The Kremlin has declined to comment on Lukashenko’s claims, stating that it is unaware of Prigozhin’s current location.
To provide some context, Lukashenko had intervened in the rebellion led by Prigozhin, reaching a deal that involved Prigozhin stepping down in exchange for amnesty for his fighters and safe passage to Belarus. Prigozhin’s presence in Russia raises questions about the future of this agreement.
Considering Lukashenko’s role in sharing information about Prigozhin’s whereabouts, it is possible that he is attempting to regain some leverage with Putin.