Wagner Mercenary Group Pledges Continued Operations in Africa and Belarus
Wagner Takes Respite, Regroups
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group, has confirmed the group's intention to maintain its activities in Africa and Belarus, though he clarified that it is not presently recruiting additional fighters. The declaration came via an audio message published by a Wagner-affiliated Telegram account.
The Wagner group, a private military company, has been instrumental during Russia's incursion into Ukraine, with several thousand members participating in a brief but notable mutiny against Russia's military leadership in June.
In the audio recording, Prigozhin stated that most Wagner combatants are currently taking a respite after "a long period of very hard work". He outlined that the group is currently deliberating over future objectives, all of which would be carried out to further Russia's interests and stature.
The operations would remain "active in Africa and at training centers in Belarus", according to Prigozhin's message which was shared on the Grey Zone account.
Prigozhin refrained from providing explicit details, although it is known that Wagner maintains an active presence in several regions of Africa, and its fighters have previously been deployed in Belarus to train territorial defense forces.
In reference to the group's recruitment strategy, Prigozhin affirmed, "While we are not experiencing any deficit in personnel, we do not plan to conduct new recruitment".
"However, we will be extremely grateful if you keep in touch with us, and as soon as the Motherland requires a new group that will be able to protect the interests of our country, we will certainly start recruiting,” the Wagner leader added.
The Wagner chief acknowledged that there were no prohibitions on its fighters transferring to "other power structures" within Russia, adding that "unfortunately, some" had chosen to make such transitions.
Following the unsuccessful mutiny spearheaded by the Wagner group on June 23-24, Russian President Vladimir Putin extended an invitation to those fighters who had abstained from participating in the uprising to sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry.
This declaration from the leader of the Wagner group marks an important update on the role of mercenaries in Russia's military strategy, offering insight into its international operations and domestic recruitment.