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‘Welcome to hell’ Prigozhin reappears in Belarus, rallying Wagner Group mercenaries for future work in Africa (but not yet in Ukraine)
Two Telegram channels associated with the Wagner Group mercenary organization published a video on Wednesday apparently showing Yevgeny Prigozhin addressing his men at their new training camp in Belarus. Prigozhin continues to call Russia’s military conduct in Ukraine a “disgrace” and vowed to keep Wagner Group from returning to the war until it receives better treatment from the Russian authorities. The footage marks Prigozhin’s first video appearance since his brief mutiny in late June and perhaps the first-ever public remarks from Dmitry “Wagner” Utkin, the former military intelligence officer who reportedly founded the mercenary group that now bears his callsign.
According to the Telegram channel Belamova, the video was recorded outside the town of Osipovichi, which is the area where the Belarusian Defense Ministry said Wagner troops would train local reservists. On July 18, a Belarusian monitoring project reported that roughly 2,225 Wagner mercenaries had already transferred to Belarus. At least five convoys of Wagner combatants have arrived in the country since July 11.
Below, you’ll find a transcript of Prigozhin’s and Utkin’s remarks to Wagner fighters:
Yevgeny Prigozhin: Greetings, guys! I’m glad to see you all! Welcome to Belarusian land!
We fought with dignity. You did a lot for Russia. What’s happening now at the front is a disgrace, and there’s no need for us to join in. And [we'll] wait for the moment when we can show full-on what we’re made of.
Therefore, it’s been decided that we’ll be here in Belarus for some time. During this time — and I’m sure of this — we’ll turn the Belarusian army into the second-best army in the world. And if necessary, we’ll stand up for them, if needed. I want to ask everyone not to forget that the Belarusians welcomed us not only as heroes but as brothers.
They say the girls in town are gossiping and drooling about the Wagner boys who’ve arrived. [Laughter.] But be careful not to offend anyone here. That’s why we’ll treat them like brothers.
We’re preparing for the future. We’re leveling up. And… We’re on a new path to Africa. And maybe we’ll return to the Special Military Operation at a time when we are sure that we won’t be forced to disgrace ourselves and our experience. We brought the flag from Molkino [Wagner Group’s previous base of operations in Russia's Krasnodar district], which we’ll give to Sergey, “Pioneer,” who will be in command here on Belarus operations. And two Belarusian-Russian flag ribbons, so nobody thinks we’re without a flag and without a homeland, as they used to write.
Well, and a word from the commander, to the one who gave us the name Wagner.
Dmitry Utkin: Yes, if you haven’t guessed yet, I am “Wagner.”
The commanders who… [Applause.] Most of you all know me, and I know most of you personally. Many thanks to everyone for the work we’ve done. It’s thanks to this work, damn it… that the name “PMC Wagner” has thundered across the whole world! [Applause.] Thank you, everyone!
Guys, thank you very much. This is not the end, this is just the beginning of the biggest job in the world, which will be carried out very soon. And, well… [in English] “Welcome to hell!” Thank you, guys! That’s it, guys, good luck! Thank you!
Men in the crowd: We serve PMC Wagner! [Mr. Prigozhin], and we’ll go and wipe out the faggots. [Laughter.]
Yevgeny Prigozhin: Absolutely!
Men in the crowd: We’ll wipe out the faggots worldwide! Better BDSM than LGBT! [Laughter.]
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