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Exiled former Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has made his first comments since fleeing Russia to go to Belarus after a failed coup against President Vladimir Putin.
Putin's days looked numbered late last month as Prigozhin and his "skinhead zombie troops" looked like taking Moscow and ousting Putin.
However, after taking Rostov-on-Don, the feared brigade suddenly halted their advance on Moscow, with Prigozhin saying he wanted to avoid "spilling Russian blood".
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After some negotiations between the Kremlin and Prigozhin, the rebel leader was then shipped off to Belarus and the Wagner group was reportedly disbanded, with its hordes of criminals-turned-fighters being absorbed by Russia's army.
And since then, the former chef hasn't appeared in public while rumours about an imminent threat to his life have been swirling.
But he has now reared his head and given a comment via the Gray Zone Telegram channel – and he has hinted that the Wagner Group might not be as dead as everyone thinks it is.
He said, according to anti-Kremlin Russian news site Meduza: “Today more than ever we need your support – thank you for that.
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“I want you to understand that our 'March of Justice' was aimed at fighting traitors and mobilizing our society, and I think we have achieved a lot of it.
“In the near future, I am sure that you will see our next victories at the front – thanks guys!”
The message has been verified by several Russian news outlets, and comes at the same time as photos of the construction of new Wagner bases appeared online.
The new constructions were found in the Belarusian village of Osipovichi.
The Grey Zone group claims that the “training process” of new recruits has already begun, with “heavy equipment training” taking place – mainly at night.
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- Vladimir Putin
- Russia Ukraine war
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