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Video appears to show Wagner boss Prigozhin in Belarus

Prigozhin: Video appears to show Wagner boss in Belarus

Video appears to show Wagner boss Prigozhin in Belarus
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary gang, appears to be in Belarus in a video on Telegram channels connected to the group.

He may be seen extending a warm welcome to combatants while calling recent events on Ukraine’s front line a “disgrace”.

He also hints that Wagner might rejoin the war at a later date.

The video also appears to confirm a statement by Belarus that Wagner fighters were now acting as military instructors for the country’s army.

This would be the first footage of Prigozhin seen since Wagner launched an armed mutiny inside Russia in late June.

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Shot in low light, it shows Prigozhin standing on an asphalt track in a field, surrounded by trees and what look like warehouses and tents.

BBC Verify is confident that the layout of the tents, trees and buildings matches that of a location on the western edge of the camp.

Numerous people in camouflage can be seen in the background, and are heard cheering.

Despite the poor light, Prigozhin is just about recognisable by his silhouette, and Russian speakers familiar with his previous statements say the voice and manner of speaking is unmistakably his.

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In the video, Prigozhin says that the fighters “put up a worthy fight” in Ukraine and had “done a great deal” for Russia, and strongly criticises the current conduct of the war.

“What is currently happening on the front line is a disgrace that we don’t want to have any part in, and we need to wait until we can show our mettle in full,” he is heard saying.

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He goes on to say that “the decision has been taken to stay here in Belarus for a certain time” and Wagner would use the time to make the Belarusian army the “second army in the world”.

The Wagner boss also hints that his fighters would “continue to prepare” and possibly return to the front lines in Ukraine “when we are sure that we won’t be forced to put ourselves and our experience to shame”.

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