Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin gave his first sign of life in a week on Monday as he issued a voice message expressing thanks to supporters of his recent failed uprising.
“I want you to understand that our ‘March of Justice’ was aimed at fighting traitors and mobilizing our society,” Prigozhin, chief of the Wagner mercenary army, said in a 41-second voice message posted on Telegram. “In the near future, I am sure that you will see our next victories at the front. Thanks guys!”
Prigozhin, 62, went from folk hero to public enemy number one in Russia after leading a 36-hour armed insurrection last month, capturing the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and sending his men to within 200 km of the capital Moscow.
He bottled out after President Vladimir Putin condemned the mutiny as a “stab in the back,” winning a judicial reprieve in a deal brokered by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko under which Prigozhin and his men would go into exile.
In the last statement posted on his own Telegram channels on June 26, the warlord said he had orders his men back to base to prevent a bloodbath and hit back at the suggestions that he was trying to pull off a coup.
Lukashenko confirmed that Prigozhin arrived in Belarus last Tuesday. The warlord’s whereabouts remain unclear and he has in the meantime been stripped of his Russian media assets. Prigozhin’s latest voice message was posted by Grey Zone, a sympathetic Telegram channel.