Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has revealed the warnings he gave to the recently killed Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Following Prigozhin’s brief and underwhelming mutiny against the Russian military, Lukashenko asserted that he had cautioned the Wagner chief about the potential consequences of his actions.
“I told him: ‘Yevgeny, do you understand that you will doom your people and will perish yourself?'” Lukashenko told Prigozhin, according to Belarusian state news agency BELTA.
“To hell with it — I will die,” Prigozhin responded, according to Lukashenko.
Lukashenko further elaborated on their conversation, revealing a rather grim idiom.
“I told him: ‘Yevgeny, I will send you a rope and a piece of soap right now,’” Lukashenko said, referencing a Russian expression suggesting that Prigozhin might as well prepare for his own hanging.
“No, no, no. I don’t want it this way. I will die a hero,” Prigozhin retorted, according to Lukashenko.
Lukashenko also mentioned a subsequent interaction with Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, another leader of the Wagner group, who also died in the same plane crash which killed Prigozhin. Lukashenko advised both to remain vigilant, though the exact timing of this conversation remains unspecified by BELTA.
Prigozhin’s failed mutiny saw him leading his mercenary forces toward Moscow, halting a mere 150 miles from the city to negotiate surrender terms with Lukashenko, who was representing Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Despite his agreement to live in exile, Prigozhin continued his movements within Russia. Tragedy struck when his plane exploded and crashed, leading to widespread speculation about Russia’s involvement, which the Kremlin has categorically denied. Lukashenko firmly denied Putin’s involvement in the killing, but his denials are widely seen as implausible.
Lukashenko shed light on Prigozhin’s security arrangements during his time in Belarus and his return to Russia. He emphasized that Prigozhin never sought enhanced security measures.
Lukashenko claimed credit for the agreement which was ultimately reached, a tenet of which was ensuring Prigozhin’s safety in Belarus.
“Credit where credit is due, Yevgeny Prigozhin has never asked me to separately pay attention to security matters,” Lukashenko added.
Nonetheless, the Belarusian President absolved himself of responsibility for ensuring Prigozhin’s safety outside of Belarus, particularly in Africa or Russia.
“This is why I am not the guy you should be asking to answer these questions,” Lukahenko said, emphasizing that discussions about ensuring security in foreign territories never transpired between them.
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