Belarus Leader Lukashenko Says Prigozhin Is Back in Russia

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko gestures before a press conference in Minsk on Thursday.

MINSK, July 6 (Reuters) – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who last month brokered a deal to end an armed mutiny in Russia, said on Thursday that Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was no longer in Belarus.

Lukashenko said on June 27 that Prigozhin had arrived in Belarus as part of the deal.

But he told reporters on Thursday: “As for Prigozhin, he’s in St Petersburg. He is not on the territory of Belarus.”

Lukashenko said an offer for Wagner to station some of its fighters in Belarus – a prospect that has alarmed neighboring NATO countries – still stands.

He said he did not see it as a risk to Belarus and did not believe Wagner fighters would ever take up arms against his country.