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Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin ‘seen welcoming his fighters to Belarus’ | World News

Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has purportedly appeared in a new video welcoming his fighters to Belarus and saying their training will make the Belarusian army the second best in the world.

The head of the Wagner Group is heard saying his men will stay in Belarus for some time and hit out at the situation on the frontline in Ukraine, calling it a “disgrace”.

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The footage was filmed in the evening at the Tsel military base in southern Belarus. The exact date is unknown, but it is believed to have been captured at some point in the last week.

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Wagner fighters ‘train soldiers in Belarus’

Prigozhin’s plane reportedly arrived in the country yesterday morning.

In the late-night footage, Prigozhin reportedly said they would take no further part in the war for now.

He is believed to have told his fighters: “Welcome lads… welcome to Belarusian soil.

“We fought honourably. You have done a great deal for Russia. What is going on at the front is a disgrace that we do not need to get involved in.”

Prigozhin then told his men to behave well towards the local people and ordered them to train the Belarusian army and summon up their strength for a “new journey to Africa”.

“And perhaps we will return to the SMO [special military operation in Ukraine] at some point when we are sure that we will not be forced to shame ourselves,” Prigozhin said.

Wagner forces have previously been active in parts of Africa including the Central African Republic and Mali.

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How has Wagner impacted the war in Ukraine?

Read more:
Wagner ‘perfecting a nightmarish blueprint for state capture’
Wagner troops leave Central African Republic after ‘refusing Russia contracts’
Wigs, guns and gold bars found in raid of Prigozhin’s palace

Last month, Prigozhin led a short-lived rebellion, railing against top Russian defence officials as his fighters headed towards Moscow.

He called off the mutiny and his mercenaries pulled back after Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko helped broker a “deal”, which would supposedly see the businessman move to the Russian-allied country and his forces absorbed into the military.

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Russian police raid Wagner leader’s property

Mr Lukashenko said earlier this month the Wagner leader was back in Russia and his fighters had not taken up an offer to relocate across the border.

But yesterday satellite photos, taken the day before, were released apparently showing a large convoy of vehicles had arrived at a once-abandoned military base in Belarus, which local authorities offered to Wagner.

The images from Planet Labs PBC showed a long line of vehicles going to the base near the town of Osipovichi, 45 miles from the capital Minsk.

Satellite photo taken by Planet Labs PBC, a long convoy of dozens of vehicles arrive at a former military base outside the Belarusian town of Osipovichi
Pic:Planet Labs PBC/AP
Image:
Pic: Planet Labs PBC/AP

Belaruski Hajun, an activist group monitoring troops’ movements, said a convoy of more than 100 vehicles carrying Russian flags and Wagner insignia entered the country, heading towards the field camp.

The group said it was the third Wagner convoy to enter the country since last week.

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