Yevgeny Prigozhin says Wagner will ‘be here in Belarus for some time’
About 10,000 Wagner Group mercenaries are already in, or are on their way to, Belarus, according to the group-linked Telegram channel.
The stats released on Telegram also revealed that of the 78,000 Wagner fighters were sent to Bakhmut, 22,000 were killed and 40,000 wounded.
On Wednesday, a video released on Telegram showed Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin for the first time since he led a short-lived rebellion last month, in which he is seen telling his troops they will spend some time in Belarus training its military before deploying to Africa.
“Welcome guys! I am happy to greet you all. Welcome to the Belarusian land!” the video showed him saying.
“We fought with dignity! We have done a lot for Russia.”
READ MORE: Wagner commander issues chilling warnings as Prigozhin hints at Ukraine return
Prigozhin’s mutiny, which posed the most serious threat to President Vladimir Putin’s 23-year rule, was billed by the mercenary chief as being aimed at ousting Russia’s top military leaders whom he accused of incompetence.
Prigozhin’s criticism of the conduct of the fighting in Ukraine was repeated in the new video, the authenticity of which could not be immediately verified.
“What is going on the front line today is a shame in which we shouldn’t take part,” he said, adding that Wagner forces could return to Ukraine in the future.
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“We may return to the special military operation when we feel sure that we will not be forced to put shame on ourselves,” Prigozhin said, using the same term that the Kremlin calls the fighting in Ukraine.
“We need to wait for the moment when we can show ourselves in full,” he said. “That is why a decision has been made that we would spend some time here in Belarus. During that time, we will make the Belarusian army the second strongest army in the world. We will train, raise our level and set off for a new journey to Africa.”
In addition to their involvement in Ukraine, Wagner mercenaries have been sent to Syria and several African countries since the private army was created in 2014.
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