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Main War — ISW: The Wagner Group continues to maintain a presence at facilities in Belarus and the status of its rumored withdrawal to Russia remains unclear

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ISW: The Wagner Group continues to maintain a presence at facilities in Belarus and the status of its rumored withdrawal to Russia remains unclear

11 Aug, 2023
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ISW:  The Wagner Group continues to maintain a presence at facilities in Belarus and the status of its rumored withdrawal to Russia remains unclear

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Satellite imagery collected on August 9 shows a significant number of vehicles at the Wagner camp in Tsel, Asipovichy, Belarus, and may even indicate that more vehicles have arrived at the base between August 1 and August 9.

Ukrainian sources continue to report about expanding Wagner activity in Brest Oblast, and a Wagner-affiliated source posted footage on August 10 showing that Wagner instructors continue to train Belarusian military personnel.

 

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The Wagner-affiliated source amplified a denial from an alleged Wagner fighter wherein the fighter stated that the speculations are “fantasies,” although he acknowledged that many Wagner fighters themselves often do not learn about their deployments until the last moment.

ISW has not observed counter-indicators that would refute recent speculation from August 8 that Wagner bussed 500 to 600 personnel from Belarus to Krasnodar Krai and Voronezh and Rostov oblasts, however.

Russian sources speculated that Wagner forces plan to conduct the second stage of their alleged withdrawal from Belarus on August 13 but that a small group of Wagner instructors would remain in Belarus to train Belarusian forces.

 

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Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin has yet to comment on these speculations either directly or through intermediary sources as he has done previously, suggesting that Prigozhin may not be entirely at liberty to comment on the future of Wagner. Prigozhin was last publicly seen on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Economic Humanitarian Forum in St. Petersburg on July 27 and most recently commented on Wagner‘s future in an audio recording published on July 30, during which he asserted that Wagner fighters who did not sign contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) would arrive in Belarus by August 5.

ISW previously assessed that the speculation about Wagner’s withdrawal from Belarus suggested that the Kremlin may be reneging on elements of the agreement brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that brought Wagner’s June 24 rebellion to an end.

Kremlin-affiliated sources renewed attacks against Prigozhin in early August, and the speculation itself may be a part of an information operation aimed at degrading Prigozhin’s position with Wagner fighters or at some other objective

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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