ussian security officials entered a “period of confusion” after the rebellion by Wagner mercenaries, British defence chiefs said.
Warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin launched a rebellion against Russia’s military leadership last month, but backed down after a deal was brokered by Putin’s ally, President Lukashenko of Belarus.
Prighozin’s whereabouts are unknown, but in recent days an unverified image of him in his underwear emerged on Russian chat forums.
In its latest intelligence update, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said an “interim arrangement for the future of the Wagner group has started to take shape”.
They added: “On 12 July 2023, the Russian MoD announced that Wagner had handed over 2000 pieces of military equipment, including tanks. As of 15 July 2023, at least a small contingent of Wagner fighters have arrived at a camp in Belarus.
“Concurrently, some Wagner-associated social media groups have resumed activity, with a focus on highlighting the group’s activities in Africa.
“Based on recent announcements by Russian officials, the state is likely prepared to accept Wagner’s aspirations to maintain its extensive presence on the continent.”
It comes after Belarus confirmed it has reached an agreement with Wagner to train its troops.
A defence ministry statement said: “We have developed a roadmap for… transfer of experience between different branches of the armed forces.”
Belarus said on Friday that fighters from the Wagner group were instructing its soldiers at a military range southeast of Minsk.