Belarus leader ‘can’t imagine’ Putin behind Prigozhin crash

Bodies, flight recorders recovered from Wagner crash: investigators
Source: Video Screenshot

Belarus’s strongman said Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was likely not behind the death of Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is believed to have died this week in a plane crash.

Prigozhin was offered amnesty in Belarus after launching a failed bid to oust Russia’s military leadership this summer, in a deal that Moscow said was brokered by Belarus.

“He is a calculating, very calm and even slow person, making decisions on other, less complicated issues. So I can’t imagine that Putin did it, that Putin is to blame,” Alexander Lukashenko said according to state-run news agency Belta.

“It’s too rough and unprofessional work, if anything,” he was cited as saying, explaining why Putin could not have orchestrated as assassination.

Lukashenko has been in power for nearly three decades and is a close ally of Putin. He allowed Russia to attack Ukraine last February from southern Belarus, which shares a border with Ukraine.

He said that he was not responsible for Prigozhin’s safety and that the two men never discussed security guarantees.

Lukashenko warned Prigozhin that his life could be in danger, Belta cited the authoritarian leader as saying.

“I said to him: ‘Zhen, do you realise that you will kill people and die yourself?'” Lukashenko said, using a first name diminutive for Prigozhin, according to Belta.

The Belarusian leader also suggested that Wagner fighters, who were offered exile in his country following the uprising, were continuing to gather in the country and estimated the number at around 10,000.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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