Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin posted his first video address since leading a short-lived mutiny in late June, appearing in a clip possibly shot in Africa that was released on Telegram channels affiliated with the Wagner Group.
Prigozhin is seen standing in a desert in camouflage with a rifle in his hands. In the distance are more armed men and a pickup truck. Prigozhin’s comments and some posts in the pro-Wagner channels suggested it was filmed in Africa.
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“The temperature is 50+ [at least 122 degrees Fahrenheit] – everything as we like. The Wagner PMC makes Russia even greater on all continents and Africa – more free. Justice and happiness for the African people. We’re making life a nightmare for ISIS [ISIL] and al-Qaeda and other bandits,” Prigozhin said.
He added Wagner continues to recruit fighters and the group “will fulfil the tasks that were set”.
The video is accompanied by a telephone number for those who want to join the mercenary group.
The future of Wagner and Prigozhin has been unclear since he led a brief rebellion against the Russian defence establishment two months ago.
The Kremlin said he and some of his soldiers, who have fought in some of the fiercest battles of the Ukraine war, would leave for Belarus.
Since the mutiny, some Wagner fighters have moved to Belarus and started training the army there. In comments published in late July, Prigozhin also said Wagner was ready to further increase its presence in Africa.