Prigozhin Returns to Russia
Supporters of the private Russian mercenary Wagner Group are calling for a mass gathering Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia, where groups plan to hand out Wagner-branded merchandise. The private mercenary group announced the effort on its social media channel yesterday to roughly 250,000 followers as reports surfaced of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin's return to Russia.
The latest development comes less than two weeks after Prigozhin and members of the Wagner Group were exiled to neighboring Belarus after a short-lived mutiny against Russia's defense ministry (see timeline). A brokered deal allowed Wagner mercenaries to relocate to Belarus to avoid joining the Russian military as part of Moscow's plan to dismantle private mercenary groups.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said yesterday Prigozhin was no longer inside Belarus territory, while posts on Russian social media have reported sightings of the Wagner leader. It's unclear if Prigozhin will attend the mass Wagner gathering Saturday.
See the latest updates on Russia's war against Ukraine here.