A low-resolution video has emerged appearing to show Wagner Group mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin in public for the first time since his short-lived mutiny.
The video was posted to Prigozhin’s Telegram account Wednesday, showing the mercenary commander addressing his soldiers as they arrive in Belarus.
“Welcome guys. I am happy to greet you all. Welcome to the Belarusian land. We fought with dignity. We have done a lot for Russia,” the video captures him telling Wagner Group mercenaries, according to translations from The Hill.
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This video marks the first public appearance of Prigozhin since his mutiny against the Russian government last month.
In his address to the Wagner Group members, Prigozhin seems to state that the mercenaries will not be participating in the invasion of Ukraine, saying, “What is going on the front line today is a shame in which we shouldn’t take part. We may return to the special military operation when we feel sure that we will not be forced to put shame on ourselves.”
Prigozhin is also heard stating that the Russian paramilitary group would be moving on to combat in Africa.
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“We need to wait for the moment when we can show ourselves in full,” he added. “That is why a decision has been made that we would spend some time here in Belarus. During that time, we will make the Belarusian army the second-strongest army in the world. We will train, raise our level and set off for a new journey to Africa.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he offered Wagner mercenaries a chance to serve under the same commander during a meeting just days after their mutinous march on Moscow was thwarted.
Putin gave details of his offer to Wagner Group commanders, including Prigozhin, in comments published Friday in the business daily Kommersant, The Associated Press reported. He met with the 35 mercenaries for about three hours June 29 and spoke to them about their actions in Ukraine, the attempted mutiny — which he had publicly called an act of treason — and opportunities for future service.
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One option was for Wagner to continue operating under the same commander, a man who goes by “Gray Hair” and has led the mercenaries’ operations in Ukraine the past 16 months.
Fox News Digital’s Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.