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Jul 6, 2023, 6:18am EDT
Europe

What to know: Prigozhin is back in Russia, Lukashenko says

Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin leaves the headquarters of the Southern Military District amid the group's pullout from the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, June 24, 2023. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
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The News

The exiled Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led a short-lived rebellion against Moscow, is back in Russia, according to the leader of Belarus.

Prigozhin was accused of treason after marching towards the Kremlin last month, but he was allowed to leave for Belarus following a deal between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

His exact whereabouts remain unclear. Here’s a collation of insights into what we know so far.

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Insights

  • Prigozhin’s ability to walk around Russia without issue has raised questions about what consequences, if any, a would-be coup leader would face in Putin’s Russia. Illia Ponomarenko, a defense reporter with the Kyiv Independent, wrote on Twitter that “as of now, the worst consequence of the Wagner Group’s armed rebellion was a couple of angry rants on Russian propaganda TV and the exposure of Prigozhin’s hilarious selfies.
  • Among the images leaked from the raid on Prigozhin’s home was a photo of a collection of severed heads, a selection of gold bars, weapons, and a collection of selfies of the Wagner boss wearing a variety of disguises.
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Know More

It is unclear exactly where Prigozhin is.

Lukashenko, who brokered the deal that allowed the Wagner chief to travel to Belarus, said on June 27 that Prigozhin had arrived in the country.

On Thursday, however, he told Belarus state media that Prigozhin was in St. Petersburg, or that he may have moved on elsewhere. “Where is he this morning? Maybe he went to Moscow, maybe somewhere else, but he is not on the territory of Belarus,” Lukashenko said.

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Earlier, reports circulated in Russian media that Prigozhin had been spotted collecting belongings from his home in St. Petersburg.

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