Belarusian President Alexandr Lukashenko on Thursday said that Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the Russian Wagner mercenary group that staged a short-lived rebellion last month, is in Russia.
Since the rebellion on June 24, the whereabouts of Prigozhin remains unknown, the BBC reported.
Under the deal to end the stand-off brokered by Lukashenko, charges against the Wagner chief were dropped and he was offered a move to Belarus.
But on Thursday, the President said: “As for Prigozhin, he’s in St Petersburg. He is not on the territory of Belarus.”
His announcement came just over a week ago when he said that Prigozhin had arrived in Belarus.
The BBC had tracked Prigozhin’s private jet flying to Belarus in late June, and returning to Russia the same evening.
It has since made several flights between St Petersburg and Moscow — although it remains unclear if the Wagner chief was on board.
In his announcement on Thursday, the Belarusian President further said that “as far as I know” the rest of the Wagner fighters were still at their bases — which could include eastern Ukraine or a training base in Russia’s Krasnodar region.
He said an offer for Wagner to station some of its fighters in Belarus still stands and he has offered several Soviet-era military sites for their use.
“But Wagner have a different vision. Of course I won;t tell you about that. At present, the issue of their relocation has not been resolved,” the BBC quoted the President as saying.