Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin released on Monday a message in which he defended his short-lived insurrection and called for support as the group continued to recruit troops despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ultimatum for Wagnerites.
Prigozhin spoke for the second time since the aborted mutiny on Telegram: “I want you to understand that our ‘March of Justice’ was aimed at fighting traitors and mobilizing our society. And I think we have achieved a lot of that.”
He added: “In the near future, I am sure that you will see our next victories at the front.”
The Wagner chief also appealed for backing: “Today more than ever, we need your support.” This comes as the group was actively looking for recruits.
The Grey Zone Telegram channel affiliated with Wagner, also posted recruitment advertisements. One ad said: “Despite the fact that the Wagner Centers in Russia have temporarily stopped working, the Wagner Group continues to recruit personnel. All military specialties are required, except for the strategic missile forces (For now).” The ad listed requirements, conditions and benefits.
This directly contradicts Putin’s ultimatum for Wagner group members of choosing between signing contracts with the Russian military, going back home, or following Prigozhin into exile in Belarus.
The channel also posted pictures of what it said was the construction of one of the three bases of the Wagner Group, which is located near the village of Osipovichi in the Belarusian Mogilev region. The pictures showed rows of tents and wooden bunks.
It added that “some units of the Wagner group have already begun the training process, for example, tank maneuvers and maneuvers with heavy equipment are being practiced at a training ground located a couple of kilometers to the south, assault actions are also practiced under artillery cover, including at night.”
Prigozhin had started a brief revolt last week which swiftly ended with him calling off his Wagner forces’ march on Moscow after agreeing to a deal which would see him exiled in Belarus without any legal action taken against him in Russia thanks to the mediation of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.