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Intelligence Briefings

Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of Commander Wagner

Mystery still surrounds the whereabouts of Wagner\’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin. Yesterday, Saturday, some of the group\’s supporters gathered in the hometown of its leader in St. Petersburg, which called for more doubts about his future role in Russia after he claimed the most serious challenge to President Vladimir Putin\’s control of the country. Since he came to power 23 years ago.

The American newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, said that the Wagner leader did not attend the event, which was held in the parking lot of a shopping center. It is not known whether the mercenary group was aware of the gathering or not.

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The organizer of the event belongs to the group\’s pro-Telegram channel, WagnerPiter, and has claimed that more than 300 people attended the rally.

Pictures posted on social media indicate at least a dozen fans were in attendance.

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As the organizer of the event wrote in a comment on the Telegram application: \”Unfortunately, the gifts we had were not enough for everyone,\” but \”the event went well. There were no provocations or accidents.\”

He then thanked the group\’s followers, describing them as \”citizens who support our country.\”

While the organizers had warned the audience before attending that \”the purpose of the event is to gather supporters, nothing more\”, and \”it is of great importance that we pay attention to this in light of recent events, so we do not need to raise flags or carry out a broad campaign.\”

Despite this, some of the attendees ignored the organizers\’ recommendations to leave Wagner flags at home, a few wore military uniforms, covered their faces with scarves, and others wore black Wagner uniforms bearing one of the group\’s emblems: two crossed swords with a gold star in the middle.

A video clip and comments posted by the organizers on Telegram revealed that law enforcement authorities stopped a convoy of cars and motorcycles that raised Wagner flags and carried their supporters on Nevsky Prospekt – a major thoroughfare in downtown Saint Petersburg – but allowed them to continue moving minutes later, and the organizers thanked the police. Traffic and the National Guard \”for their loyalty and understanding.\”

On the other hand, the gathering, although small, increased the speculation circulating about the plans of Commander Wagner, after last month he led his forces to rebel against the Russian military leadership.

Prigozhin halted his insurrectionary march toward Moscow after a deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko included safe passage for him and his men to leave for Belarus in an agreement reportedly approved by Putin.

This week, though, Lukashenko told reporters that Prigozhin had returned to Russia, and alleged sightings of Prigozhin have circulated on social media, but the Wagner leader has not spoken publicly about his future or that of his 25,000 fighters, and his representatives have not responded to questions. related to its location.

While analysts following developments in Russia said that if Wagner\’s leader is actually alive and moving around the country, this indicates that Putin still needs him, and contradicts the Russian president\’s description of Wagner\’s disobedience as treason.

Wagner fighters contributed greatly to Moscow\’s attack on Ukraine, and led the seizure of the city of Bakhmut, and the group had an important role in expanding the Kremlin\’s influence in the Middle East and Africa.

The Russian government has not said much about the future of the Wagner Commander.

“Moscow does not follow the movements of the paramilitary group leader, and has neither the ability nor the desire to do so,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters this week. Nevertheless, Russian state media have made extensive efforts to discredit Prigozhin.

On Wednesday, news channels broadcast video clips of what they claimed was a raid on Prigozhin\’s palace and offices in St. Petersburg, revealing his well-being, as evidenced by the presence of a truck loaded with dozens of boxes containing carefully wrapped bundles of cash and gold bars.

Mystery still surrounds the fate of the Wagner fighters as well. In Lukashenko\’s deal they were offered to leave for Belarus with the Wagner commander or join the Russian regular army.

However, on Friday, the Belarusian Belta news agency quoted Leonid Kasinsky, the Belarusian deputy defense minister, as saying that the Wagner forces did not reach the camping camp where they were to be congregated before being distributed to other residences.

Belta also reported that the camp is located near the town of Acipovici, which was a former military barracks, and was originally set up to train military personnel and administrators in case the need to deploy forces to defend the area. The camp accommodates about 5,000 people

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