The Russian security apparatus entered a period of confusion and negotiations after Wagner Group’s mutiny led by its boss Yevgeny Prigozhin on June 24, the UK Ministry of Defense said on Sunday in an intelligence update on the war.
“In recent days, an interim arrangement for the future of the group has started to take shape. On July 12, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that Wagner had handed over 2000 pieces of military equipment, including tanks. As July 15, at least a small contingent of Wagner fighters have arrived at a camp in Belarus,” the British ministry said.
It added: “Concurrently, some Wagner-associated social media groups have resumed activity, with a focus on highlighting the group’s activities in Africa. Based on recent announcements by Russian officials, the state is likely prepared to accept Wagner’s aspirations to maintain its extensive presence on the continent.”
Washington-based think tank Institute of Study of War (ISW) wrote in an assessment that Wagner Group instructors previously deployed in Africa previously arrived at training grounds in Belarus. The think tank cited a Belarusian insider source as saying that “Wagner seeks to rotate troops of their African contingent and that the arrival of some instructors to Belarus is part of a wider troop rotation effort.”
The think tank added: “A Russian military blogger claimed that only a part of Wagner’s Africa contingent has left Africa and that sufficient troops remain in African host nations to perform assigned tasks. Wagner’s internationally deployed commanders are likely arriving in Belarus to prepare training infrastructure and set conditions for the arrival of regular Wagner forces, who are reportedly slated to deploy to Belarus in early August after taking leave and undergoing reorganization following Wagner‘s June 24 armed rebellion.”
Several hundred “experienced” Wagner forces have arrived in the Central African Republic, Russian private security company said on Sunday. Officer's Union for International Security – one of Wagner group’s front companies – stated on Telegram that Russian instructors will continue to assist Central African Armed Forces (FACA) military personnel and law enforcement officers of the CAR in ensuring security ahead of the constitutional referendum scheduled for July 30. Officer's Union for International Security – one of Wagner group’s front companies – stated on Telegram that Russian instructors will continue to assist Central African Armed Forces (FACA) military personnel and law enforcement officers of the CAR in ensuring security ahead of the constitutional referendum scheduled for July 30.
The fate of the Wagner group remains up in the air, as Russian President Vladimir Putin offered those who participated in the mutiny an option between joining the army or going back home to their families or going to Belarus following their exiled chief.
Furthermore, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said countries in Africa which dealt with Wagner were not panicked after the insurrection as the mutiny would not alter Russia’s relationship with countries in Africa.
As for African countries that hired Wagner, Lavrov said those countries also had direct security cooperation with Moscow. Lavrov said that Wagner group members will continue operations in Mali and Central African Republic (CAR). He pointed out that several hundred Russian servicemen who are members of Wagner were working in CAR as instructors and said: “This work will, of course, continue.”