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Prigozhin-Kremlin agreement may be still negotiating - ISW

Prigozhin-Kremlin agreement may be still negotiating - ISW Yevgeny Prigozhin still negotiating specifics in the agreement with the Kremlin
Author: RBC Ukraine

After the attempted coup in Russia, discussions continue regarding the details of the agreements reached between the founder of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and the Kremlin through the mediation of self-proclaimed Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, state the analysts from the Institute for the Study of War.

Experts note that the reports of an agreement mediated by Lukashenko and aimed at ending the armed uprising of Prigozhin's mercenaries suggest that the involved parties may still be discussing the details of the agreement.

According to flight tracking data of June 27 provided by the independent Belarusian monitoring group The Hajun Project, the "chef of Putin" plane took off from the Machulishchy aerodrome in Belarus heading towards Russia-Moscow, and then immediately proceeded to Saint Petersburg.

The military criminal, former Russian officer, and blogger Igor Girkin claimed that Prigozhin returned to Russia for negotiations with unnamed Russian officials and the Wagner Commander's Council.

However, ISW cannot independently confirm whether Prigozhin actually returned to Russia or the details of the anticipated visit. Nonetheless, the report states that Prigozhin may have briefly returned to work out additional details of the agreement reached with Lukashenko.

Russian sources continued to speculate on the specifics of this agreement. A Russian war correspondent associated with the Wagner Group published an interview with a Belarusian mercenary from this private military company, in which the fighter stated that Wagner had opened a "new combat direction" in Belarus and that some Wagner personnel would "work in Russia," while others would "work in Belarus."

The Russian opposition outlet "Meduza," citing a source in the Russian Ministry of Defense, claimed that only 1,000 Wagner PMC mercenaries had traveled to Belarus along with Prigozhin.

According to the Belarusian opposition channel "Belamova," satellite images from June 27 reveal the construction of a new military facility in the Osipovichi district of Belarus, which was not visible on June 13. This raises the possibility that the images may show the construction of a Wagner PMC training camp in Belarus.

It is unclear whether the construction of the military facility appeared before the announcement of the agreement between Prigozhin and Lukashenko on June 24, and ISW experts cannot independently confirm whether this facility is related to the Wagner Group.

"However, the pervasive speculation surrounding Wagner’s position in Belarus suggests that certain aspects of the deal are still being worked ou," the report states.

Key takeaways:

  • Russian sources speculated that Wagner’s rebellion is already having widespread impacts on the Russian command structure.
  • Russian authorities reportedly arrested Army General Sergei Surovikin on June 28, possibly indicating that the Kremlin intends to purge the MoD of figures viewed as disloyal.
  • The Kremlin will likely attempt to balance a desire to mitigate the widespread disdain for MoD establishment figures that fueled Wagner’s rebellion while also trying to disempower those who may have sympathized with the rebellion.
  • The Russian Duma is considering additional measures to increase control over the information space and promote self-censorship within broad internet communities.
  • Belarus formally ratified an agreement on the establishment of joint Russian-Belarusian training centers in Belarus on June 28.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held a phone conversation with the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran Major General Mohammad Bagheri on June 28.
  • Unconfirmed reports claim that Russian military police allegedly detained Wagner Group commanders in Syria.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations in at least four sectors of the front.
  • Russian and Ukrainian forces conducted ground attacks near Kreminna, Bakhmut, and in the western Donetsk region.
  • Russian forces conducted a strike on civilian infrastructure in Kramatorsk in Donetsk region on the night of June 27.
  • Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the western Zaporizhzhia region and conducted limited probing attacks on the east (left) bank of the Dnipro River near the Antonivskyi Bridge in the Kherson region on June 27 and 28.
  • Russian sources reported on continued Russian efforts to clarify terms and conditions for military service.
  • Russian and occupation officials continue efforts to deconflict legal discrepancies as part of the incorporation of occupied territories.

Wagnerites' relocation to Belarus

After the founder of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, interrupted his "march to Moscow" on June 24 following a conversation with Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, the Kremlin announced that the mercenary leader would head to Belarus and face criminal charges for his involvement in the coup attempt in Russia.

It has also been reported that the Wagner mercenaries were given the choice of either signing a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense or going to Belarus. According to Lukashenko's statement, Prigozhin was already in Belarus on June 27.

Against this backdrop, rumors of the deployment of Wagner mercenaries to Belarus have circulated online, but these have already been refuted by the monitoring channel "Belaruski Hayun."

However, media outlets have already shown satellite images of a camp in Belarus where Wagner PMC mercenaries may be stationed.