I would go even farther than this guy.
Granted, I am a skeptical man, but here’s what I see:
- Prigozhin challenged Putin with an armed rebellion, but was allowed to re-settle in Belarus, with all charges dropped. (Oh, that Putin – always the forgiving guy!)
- Prigozhin is going to end up in Belarus, unpunished, not as a lonely exile, but with his mercenary army.
- The Wagner group potentially could have access to the nuclear weapons that Putin conveniently started moving there last week.
- It is only about 100 miles from Kyiv to the nearest point in Belarus.
All of the bullet-points above seem to be undisputed facts, yet few people seem to find that concatenation of circumstances to be alarming.
Add one more possibility. Russia and Belarus have been in talks to unite as a single country. Even if that does not happen, Belarus is just a vassal state, so as Putin sees it, Prigozhin is just in another part of his empire.
Some Ukrainians have noticed. One Ukrainian blogger wrote:
There will be a threat from the north. There is no need for “patriotic heroism,” but a sober approach to the current situation is needed. It was too easy for Putin and Prigozhin to reconcile. For Russia, a couple dozen corpses and five downed planes are a trifle when implementing a secret operation to “kindly” transfer Wagner specifically to Belarus. And think about why, under an agreement and “good will,” Prigozhin was sent specifically to Belarus and not to Africa or Syria, where Wagner has existing bases.
Even if there are only 15,000 mercenaries, in order to prevent any provocations on their part, we need to redeploy 5-6 brigades to the North. Under the conditions of the offensive in the South, this is a lot.