Belarus news agency BELTA quoted Lukashenko as saying: “To answer this question directly, I do not need to guarantee the safety of Mr. Prigozhin. This is the first point. Second, we never talked about it. That’s the problem.”
The Belarusian president said that he and Prigozhin had discussed security twice.
“I warned Mr. Prigozhin and another Wagner leader, Dmitry Utkin, to beware of possible threats to his life. However, both times, Mr. Prigozhin ignored them.”
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Photo: Sputnik
Mr. Yevgeny Prigozhin. Photo: Reuters
When Lukashenko was asked who was responsible for the 23 August plane crash that is believed to have killed Prigozhin, he said he could not say who it was, but he blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin ruled out the possibility.
“Many are trying to shift the blame for this tragedy to the Russian president. However, he has nothing to do with it,” – emphasized Mr. Belarus.
According to Lukashenko, Wagner and members of the “core department” remain in Belarus and continue to live and work in the country. “Wagner has lived, lives and will live in Belarus. Together with Mr. Prigozhin, we have created a system for Wagner to stay here,” – Sputnik Belarus quoted Mr. Lukashenko as saying.
It is estimated that more than 3,000 Wagner members have moved to Belarus after the failed uprising in Russia in late June.
In August, Lukashenko said that the Belarus-based Wagner Force was passing on its experience to the Belarusian army and special forces. In particular, in July, he acted as an instructor in the training of defensive units near the city of Osipovichi in the Mogilev region – Belarus.
Wagner was officially registered as “academic” in Belarus in August this year.