NATO Chief Says Most Wagner Forces Haven’t Gone to Belarus

Poland has said NATO must have a 'tough response' if Wagner gains a foothold in Belarus

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that not many members of Russia’s Wagner Group followed their exiled leader to Belarus.

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is now living in exile in Belarus after his short-lived mutiny, and other members of the force were given the option of going there as well. Wagner members also had the option of signing contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry or going home to their families.

Poland has called for a “tough response” from NATO to counter any Wagner presence in Belarus, but Stoltenberg said he hasn’t seen the mercenary force go there. “We have seen some preparations for the hosting of Wagner forces,” Stoltenberg told POLITICO. “We have so far not yet seen so many of them arriving.”

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who brokered the deal that ended Prigozhin’s mutiny, has said that he’s ready to “accommodate” Wagner fighters who choose to go to his country. But it’s still unclear how many will wind up there.

Stoltenberg stressed that it was too early to tell what will become of Wagner. He said the group is still active in Africa and that some fighters are still in Ukraine but not near the frontlines. Wagner fighters fought in the brutal 10-month battle of Bakhmut and withdrew after capturing the city at the end of May.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.