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Wagner Fighters Reportedly Prepare to Move to Belarus

Fighters of Wagner private mercenary group pull out of the headquarters of the Southern Military District to return to base, in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, June 24, 2023. REUTERS
Fighters of Wagner private mercenary group pull out of the headquarters of the Southern Military District to return to base, in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, June 24, 2023. REUTERS

Mercenary fighters of Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner group are preparing to move to Belarus under the terms of a deal that defused their mutiny against Russia's military leadership, a senior commander of the group was quoted as saying.

Since the June 23-24 mutiny, which saw Wagner fighters briefly seize a southern Russian city and march towards Moscow, the exact whereabouts of Prigozhin and his mercenaries have been unclear.

Under the deal that ended the mutiny, Prigozhin was meant to move to Belarus and his men - some of them ex-convicts freed early to fight in Ukraine - were given the option to move with him to Belarus, join Russia's regular armed forces, or go home.

However, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Thursday that Prigozhin and thousands of his fighters were still in Russia, raising questions about the deal's implementation.

Anton Yelizarov, whose nom de guerre is "Lotus", was quoted on Saturday by a channel on the Telegram messaging app as saying the fighters were now taking vacation until early August, on Prigozhin's orders, before moving to Belarus.

Related Story: Wagner Leader Releases Audio Message, Suggests Mercenary Force May Return to War Front

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