A meeting between Vladimir Putin and staunch Kremlin ally Alexander Lukashenko comes almost a month after Russia’s failed Wagner Uprising, which the Belarusian leader played a role in ending.
Vladimir Putin told his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday that the Ukrainian counter-offensive, launched in early June to drive Russian troops out of Ukraine, had “failed,” according to Russian news outlets.
“There is no counteroffensive,” Lukashenko first declared, according to the TASS news agency, before being interrupted by Putin, who said, “There is one, but it failed.” The meeting between Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, a staunch Kremlin ally, comes almost a month after the aborted Wagner Uprising in Russia, which the Belarusian leader played a role in ending.
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In a sign of the importance of these first face-to-face exchanges since that spectacular episode that shook Russian power, Vladimir Putin said Sunday that the two leaders would dedicate “a day and a half, two days” to these bilateral talks. In a preliminary remark broadcast on Russian television, the Russian President reiterated this on the program “Security in our region”. Putin and Lukashenko will also have to discuss the important files of the paramilitary group Wagner, whose leader Evguéni Prigoyine has claimed he wants to overthrow the Russian military hierarchy.
“We control what happens” with Wagner
In the agreement reached between the parties, the Wagner fighters were offered to sign a contract with the regular Russian army, enter civilian life, or leave Belarus. Since then, some of his men, having gained combat experience, have arrived in this neighboring country of Russia. Lukashenko assured Vladimir Putin on Sunday that he was “holding” Wagner in the center of Belarus and claimed to have the situation “under control”. “They’ve started to tire us. They demand to go west, (…) to Warsaw, Rzeszów,” Lukashenko explained to his Russian counterpart, who smiled slightly.
“But of course that I keep them in central Belarus, as we agreed,” he added. “You’re in a bad mood,” he stated, without giving any further details. “We control what happens,” he pounded on Wagner. Alexander Lukashenko also accused Warsaw of wanting to transfer “territories” from western Ukraine to Poland, which he described as “unacceptable”.