Alexander Lukashenko has stated that Wagner Group mercenaries will stay in Belarus although their leaders Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin were reported dead in a plane crash.
Lukashenko commented on the recent reports that claim that a Wagner Group camp near Mahilyow is being demolished. He says that numerous members of the mercenary group “are gone on vacation”, hence the removal of “extra” tents.
“In a few days they’ll all be here, up to 10,000 people. There is no need to keep them here now. That’s why they’re not leaving. They’ll be staying with us for as long as we both need it,” Lukashenko said.
Lukashenko also revealed that he was not obliged to ensure Prigozhin’s security after his mercenaries arrived in Belarus. After Prigozhin’s late June mutiny, Lukashenko promised “full security guarantees” for Prigozhin, as well as a safe route from Russia to Belarus for Wagner Group members.
Media reported that Wagner mercenaries started to arrive in Belarus in mid-July. Radio Free Europe Belarus recently revealed a Planet Labs satellite photo of their camp, taken on 23 August. The outlet’s estimates were that 101 of 273 tents were removed. It is assumed that a total of 2,020 out of 5,000 mercenaries could have left the camp, although it is unclear if they moved to some location within Belarus or departed to a different country.