There has been much speculation about the whereabouts of Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led an armed coup against the Kremlin in late June.
As part of an agreement brokered by the Belarusian president to end the rebellion, the warlord had agreed to go into exile in the neighboring country.
He has not been seen in public since the mutiny and last week was believed to have landed in the capital, Minsk.
But Lukashenko said Prigozhin is in Russia and “maybe” in St. Petersburg or even Moscow.
He told reporters today: “As for Prigozhin, he is in St. Petersburg. He is not on the territory of Belarus.”
A business jet linked to Prigozhin flew from St. Petersburg to Moscow yesterday, and today, according to flight tracking data, flew towards southern Russia.
However, it was unclear whether the mercenary chief was on board the plane.
Lukashenko said an offer to Wagner to station some of his fighters in Belarus — a prospect that has worried neighboring NATO countries — is still standing.
He said he sees no risk to Belarus and doesn’t think they will ever take up arms against his country.
Separately, Russia has said the hired soldiers can go to Belarus, join its regular forces there, or be demobilized.
Lukashenko’s comments came just hours later Russian security forces searched Prigozhin’s villa in St. Petersburg.
FSB officers found fake wigs and beards, fake passports, guns and ammunition, a sledgehammer, bullion and a stuffed alligator.
The items also included a framed photograph allegedly showing the severed heads of Prigozhin’s enemies.
Images of the raid were subsequently leaked and published by the pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia.
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