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Lukashenko asserts he successfully convinced Putin against eliminating Wagner leader Prigozhin


[RIGA, Latvia — In a remarkable meeting with his generals, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko revealed the tense phone conversation he had with Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the leader of the rebel group, Wagner. Lukashenko claimed that during the call, Prigozhin used an excessive amount of obscenities and was unaware that his life was in danger. Lukashenko further stated that he stopped Russian President Vladimir Putin from making a harsh decision, which Lukashenko suggested could have led to Prigozhin’s death. The Belarusian dictator also mentioned Prigozhin’s demands to speak to Putin and for the extradition of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Gen. Valery Gerasimov, who have been frequent targets of Prigozhin’s criticism. Despite Lukashenko’s involvement in brokering the deal between Putin and Prigozhin, his version of events cannot be verified due to his reputation for making grandiose and false statements. The Kremlin, however, confirmed Lukashenko’s central role in the negotiations. Lukashenko’s account of the sensitive conversations gives insight into the crisis faced by Putin and his warm relationship with Lukashenko. Lukashenko also praised Prigozhin, who has been criticized by senior Russian officials, as a highly authoritative figure in the armed forces. Lukashenko concluded by discussing his efforts to convince Putin to wait until he had spoken to Prigozhin, resulting in a temporary ceasefire.


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