Wagner chief says 7,000 of his troops based in Belarus

Wagner chief says 7,000 of his troops based in Belarus

Prigozhin relocated his forces after short-lived mutiny against Moscow in June

By Jo Harper

WARSAW (AA) - Since June’s aborted mutiny in Russia, as many as 7,000 mercenaries from the private military company Wagner are in Belarus, founder of the group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said on Monday.

Prigozhin agreed to relocate his forces, many of whom were engaged in the war in Ukraine, to Belarus in a deal to end his short-lived mutiny against Moscow on June 24. Wagner is also known to be active in multiple parts of Africa.

He told Grey Zone, a Telegram channel affiliated with Wagner, that 1,500 of his fighters are in Africa while 12,000 are “on leave.”

While there are varying reports on the number of Wagner mercenaries based in Belarus, a Russian ally, concerns have been raised by Poland over the developing situation over its border, which says the move is aimed at destabilizing the situation on NATO’s eastern flank.

Poland’s Border Guard on Monday called on the Defense Ministry to deploy another 1,000 troops, accusing Minsk of orchestrating another migration influx into the EU to destabilize the region.

Earlier, Warsaw said Belarus violated its airspace with military helicopters, a charge denied by Minsk.

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