FACT CHECK: No, Belarus Did Not Arrest Prigozhin And Hand Him Over To NATO
A video shared on Facebook claims Belarus arrested Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigohzin.
There is no evidence for this claim.
Wagner Group mercenaries are still in Belarus after reports emerged that they were leaving the country, according to EuroNews. Wagner instructors are training Belarusian military personnel, the outlet reported.
The Facebook video claims that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko ordered the arrest of Prigozhin and handed him over to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The video’s caption reads, “Shocking Order From Lukashenko! Belarus Arrests Prigozhin & Hands Him Over to Nato! Banish Soldiers.”
However, there is no evidence for this claim. If Prigozhin had been arrested and handed over to NATO, media outlets would have covered it, yet none have. Neither NATO nor the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have confirmed that Prigozhin was arrested and handed over to NATO.
Prigozhin appears to be active on Telegram, saying that U.S. diplomat Victoria Nuland’s apparently failed efforts to mediate the Niger situation brought him “joy,” according to the Daily Beast. Bellingcat’s Christo Grozev predicted that Prigozhin would either be dead or there would be a “second coup,” the Financial Times reported.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a non-partisan think tank that tracks the Russian-Ukrainian war, noted that Prigozhin has been silent on Wagner’s movements in its August 10th campaign assessment update.
“Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin has yet to comment on these speculations either directly or through intermediary sources as he has done previously, suggesting that Prigozhin may not be entirely at liberty to comment on the future of Wagner,” reads the update.
Check Your Fact reached out to NATO for comment and will update this piece if a response is received.