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Lukashenko warns of Belarusian ‘combat readiness’: ‘If Russia collapses, all of us will die’

The president of Belarus touted his country’s “combat readiness” during the short-lived revolt staged by the Wagner Group.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told state news outlet Belta that the Wagner Group mercenaries’ mutiny attempt last week threatened the national security of the nation and demanded military preparedness.

“I gave all the orders to bring the army to full combat readiness,” Lukashenko told the outlet, according to translations from The Moscow Times.

BIDEN ADMIN SAYS IT DOESN’T KNOW WHERE WAGNER GROUP LEADER YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN IS AFTER SHORT-LIVED MUTINY

Alexander Lukashenko

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko listens to questions during an interview with the press at the Independence Palace in Minsk, Belarus. (AP/Markus Schreiber)

“I won’t hide it, it was painful to watch the events taking place in southern Russia. I’m not the only one,” the president continued. “Many of our citizens took [these events] to heart. Because the Fatherland is one.”

Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin shocked the world this weekend when he turned his private military group against Russian forces while taking control of Russian military bases. 

He relented on Saturday after Belarus held negotiations between the two sides.

WHAT DOES PUTIN’S STANDOFF WITH WAGNER MERCENARY GROUP MEAN FOR RUSSIA?

Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin greets bystanders as he leaves Rostov following his short-lived rebellion

Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin leaves the headquarters of the Southern Military District amid the group’s pullout from the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia. (REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

“If Russia collapses, we will be left under the rubble, all of us will die,” Lukashenko added.

Last week, Prigozhin posted an 11-minute voice recording on social media outlining his reasons for going against Putin as his forces headed toward Moscow before an abrupt halt. 

The march toward Moscow was intended to be a protest against the prosecution of the war in Ukraine and not aimed at regime change in Russia, he said, according to a Reuters translation. 

INNER WORKINGS OF WAGNER MERCENARY GROUP REVEALED AMID CALL TO ADD ORGANIZATION TO US TERROR LIST

Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his address to the nation in Moscow. (AP)

The Kremlin said it made a deal in which the mercenary chief would move to Belarus, and he and his soldiers would receive amnesty. 

Prior to his revolt, Prigozhin had criticized Russian military leaders, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, for failing to provide his troops with enough ammunition during the bloody battle of Bakhmut. 

Prigozhin held back from directly criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin and Lukashenko

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speak during their meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the resort city of Sochi, Russia. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

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State Department spokesman Matt Miller said the conflict between Putin and his former ally is an internal Russian affair “in which the United States is not involved and will not the involved.” He added that the U.S. does not take a position as to who leads Russia.

“We want a Russia that is not invading its neighbors and not trying to violate the territorial sovereignty of its neighbors,” Miller said. 

He noted that Wagner forces had committed numerous human rights violations and generally bring destruction and chaos in any country the group operates in. 

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