Prigozhin Breaks Deal With Putin After Wagner Mutiny


Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is not in Belarus and the timeline for whether he and his fighters will claim refuge in the country remains unknown, according to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Lukashenko’s remarks were made Thursday as part of an open conversation with national and foreign media members, resulting in more questions of how Prigozhin’s post-mutiny existence might shake out as Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin have stayed relatively silent on the matter.

Putin met with Prigozhin on June 29 for about three hours and the Kremlin provided its own “assessment” of the mutiny attempt, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. Newsweek has reached out to the Kremlin for comment via email.

Prigozhin and the Wagner mercenaries made headlines on June 23 and 24 during their brief march to Moscow, which ended nearly as soon as it began following a brokered deal between Prigozhin and the Kremlin by Lukashenko. Prigozhin and his fighters were to be exiled to Belarus—where they could still fight and aid Russia’s “special military operation” against Ukraine if desired.

Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow on May 25, 2023. Lukashenko made candid comments about Vladimir Putin and Yevgeny Prigozhin while meeting with national and foreign media on July 6.ILYA PITALEV/SPUTNIK/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Lukashenko told reporters on July 6 that Prigozhin was not in Belarus but in Saint Petersburg. He was seemingly annoyed at being asked about Prigozhin’s whereabouts, according to a transcript released by the Belarusian government.”

Why do you ask me where the private military company Wagner and the head of this company are today? This is a Russian company,” Lukashenko said. “You know it very well. Therefore, the question is clearly not for me.”

He called the Wagner Group‘s fighters “excellent” and “a very powerful combat unit hardly anyone in the world can compare to.” Lukashenko said that as far as he knew, they had retreated to their permanent camps located within Russia where the forces recover and receive medical treatment. Lukashenko described this as “a regular rotation for such a war,” mentioning perilous battles in Bakhmut.

The Belarusian president doesn’t believe Prigozhin and his fighters being in Belarus would lead to any issues for his own government and citizens, such as Belarus becoming a target for Ukrainian soldiers or even Wagner perhaps attempting to execute an additional mutiny.

Prigozhin reportedly told Lukashenko he was wary of his own security, to which Lukashenko said he was ready and willing to accommodate him as well as his fighters who are being offered several former military towns, including near Osipovichi, rather than brand new camps.

Yevgeny Prigozhin on Telegram
Yevgeny Prigozhin on one of his many posts on Telegram, pictured in 2023. According to Lukashenko, he was in Saint Petersburg as of July 6.TELEGRAM

If the company is deployed in Belarus, it will sign a legally binding contract where all the terms will be stipulated, Lukashenko said. That includes Russian leadership not criminally prosecuting Prigozhin.”

What will happen to him now? Well, all kinds of things happen in life,” Lukashenko said when asked about Prigozhin’s next moves. “But if you think that Putin is so malevolent and vindictive to have him eliminated somewhere tomorrow…no, it won’t happen.”

Artyom Shraibman, Belarusian political analyst and founder of Sense Analytics consultancy, told Newsweek via Telegram that if the prearranged deal comes to fruition, Lukashenko cannot backtrack on his commitments on housing and other amenities.”I’m not sure this will be the best offer for Prigozhin himself because if we consider what will be the conditions of Prigozhin and Wagner staying in Belarus, they will not feel as free as they did in Russia,” Shraibman said. “They will not be as autonomous; Lukashenko will definitely want to control them in this or that form, to either extract money from them or substantially limit their freedom to maneuver.”

Lukashenko will also not tolerate uncontrolled arms and munitions, Shraibman added, calling it a potentially uncomfortable arrangement unless the preconditions are modified—or Putin orders different types of parameters that perhaps could not involve Belarus at all.

And although Lukashenko is a close Putin ally, especially in the context of this ongoing war, Shraibman said Russia at some point became “irritated with Lukashenko’s bragging because he speaks too much and too openly about delicate issues.”

It also makes Putin look a certain way, the analyst said, as someone who is trying to maintain a strong façade while squashing rebellion from within and looking weak to powers in the West.

“This contrast between Lukashenko’s rhetoric and Putin’s perceptions probably causes a lot of frustration in some Kremlin corners about Lukashenko, but I’m not certain it will have any consequences because Lukashenko is adaptive,” Shraibman said. “If he senses that he goes too far, he can calibrate his rhetoric.”

But I think Moscow has far more important things to worry about than Lukashenko when he speaks.

Lukashenko reportedly spoke to Putin following his comments made to reporters.


  1. “But I think Moscow has far more important things to worry about than Lukashenko when he speaks.”

    Yes, like losing a war.
    Luka has always been a slithering eel and the little rat could never get a good grip on him.

    • Or it was real, but Prigo has the little rat by the little balls. I’d say he’s got major kompromat on the little one.

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