Wagner forces will no longer fight in Ukraine – Russian official

Wagner mercenaries will no longer fight in Ukraine, the head of Russia’s Duma defence committee Andrei Kartapolov said on Thursday. 

The decision comes after mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin refused to sign contracts bringing Wagner under Russia’s defence ministry. 

He staged a rebellion against Moscow over the weekend, which ended with a deal exiling him and his force to Belarus. 

Kartapolov said Prigozhin has been notified of Kremlin’s decision.

“As you know, a few days before the attempted mutiny, the defence ministry said that all formations performing combat tasks must sign contracts with the defence ministry. Everyone started to implement this decision, except Prigozhin,” said Kartapolov.

The Wagner group will no longer receive state funding, Kartapolov added. 

Prigozhin has previously refused to collaborate with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, criticising his lack of support in Wagner’s operations, especially in the bloody battle of Bakhmut. 

The Wagner chief said on 11 June that Shoigu was not capable enough to manage his military unit.

Ukraine requests evacuation of northeastern border region

Ukrainian authorities asked residents of the northeastern border region of Sumy Oblast to evacuate, following heavy and sustained Russian shelling on Thursday. 

“Almost every day, border settlements suffer from shelling by enemy forces,” Lieutenant General Serhiy Nayev said via Telegram post. “The Russian military is firing using artillery, mortars, and multiple launch rocket systems.”

Sumy Oblast has been a constant target with Russian drones killing civilians frequently. 

An Iranian-made Shahed attack drone hit a residential house on 7 June, killing two people. 

The local military administration has previously accused Russian forces of attacking eight communities in the region in early June. 

Satellite shows build-up at Wagner base in Belarus

Latest satellite images of a military base in Belarus show new developments in what looks like a new set-up for the Wagner Group. 

Wagner mercenaries are likely to set up their new base near the town of Asipovichi, some 90 km southeast of the Belarusian capital, according to local media. 

The images captured by European Space Agency’s Sentinel 2 satellites show new structures in the base on June 27, a rapid development compared to the previous image captured fifteen days prior.  

Euronews could not independently verify if the base was being constructed for Wagner. 

Wagner chief Prigozhin arrived in Belarus on Tuesday, following President Alexander Lukashenko’s invitation to set up operations in the country. 

Following his aborted Mutiny, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Wagner mercenaries were free to join the Russian military, move to Belarus, or quit, after accusing the group of attempting to trigger a civil war.

Source: Euronews

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