Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Warlord appears on the sidelines of the summit hosted by President Vladimir Putin less than a month after leading a failed mutiny against him.

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has been photographed at a Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg, appearing on the sidelines of the event hosted by President Vladimir Putin just a month after launching a failed mutiny.

In two pictures circulated on social media Thursday, Prigozhin is shown wearing casual jeans and a white shirt, smiling as he presses the flesh with visiting officials.

In the first picture, posted to Facebook by an Africa-based aide, Prigozhin shakes hands with a suited-up African delegate. According to the watchdog All Eyes on Wagner, the African official is chief of protocol to Faustin Touadera, the president of the Central African Republic

Hundreds of Wagner mercenaries arrived in the Central African Republic last week, according to local reports. The country is holding a constitutional referendum on Sunday that may abolish presidential term limits, therefore allowing Touadera to run again.

In the second picture, Prigozhin is wearing the same outfit and shaking hands with the “director of Afrique media,” according to a Wagner-branded Telegram channel.

In a subsequent post, the Orchestra Wagner Telegram channel also claimed credit for a coup in Niger that took place on the eve of the St. Petersburg summit, although this claim could not be independently verified.

The ongoing military coup in Niger is threatening to destabilize one of the last Western allies in Africa’s Sahel region.

“Yevgeny Prigozhin continues to strengthen the positions and influence of Russia and Wagner in Africa. The coup in Niger is proof of that,” the Orchestra Wagner channel said. The main channels typically used by Prigozhin have, however, remained silent.

The posts appeared intended as a demonstration of strength by Prigozhin during the summit being hosted by President Vladimir Putin. The warlord led a mutiny last month in which his troops marched to within 200 km of Moscow before standing down.

Putin has since then terminated a U.N.-brokered deal allowing Ukraine — which Russia invaded 17 months ago — to export grain through the Black Sea. Only 17 African leaders attended the summit, in a sign of cooling relations with a continent that has had historically close ties to Moscow. The Kremlin chief had earlier pulled out of attending a summit of emerging nations in South Africa, as he is at risk of arrest under an international war crimes indictment.

Prigozhin’s whereabouts have often been unclear since last month’s abortive mutiny. He allegedly met Putin in Moscow shortly after the uprising and was spotted recently in Belarus where he has stationed some of his men.


By Admin

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