Wagner fighters and equipment seen leaving the captured Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle can breathe a sigh of relief as the armed rebellion by the mercenary Wagner Group fizzles out after advancing close to 100 miles from Moscow.
The head of the Wagner private army, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has called off his ‘march on Moscow’ after reaching a deal with the Kremlin which provides amnesty to him and his men. As part of the agreement announced by President Putin’s government, Prigozhin will be allowed a safe passage to neighboring Belarus, were the pro-Russian regime of Alexander Lukashenko has granted him protection, media reports suggest.
“The Kremlin has revealed the details of the agreement with Wagner PMC. According to spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the criminal case against Prigozhin will be dropped and he will leave Russia for Belarus,” the Russian state-0wned broadcaster RT reported late Saturday.
NEW: The #Kremlin announced a deal in which #Prigozhin will go to #Belarus without facing criminal charges after his rebelling #WagnerGroup forces encircled #Russia's Southern Military District HQ in Rostov-on-Don & drove within 330km of Moscow June 23-24🧵https://t.co/M5yx53y7GV pic.twitter.com/dvIKuuaU59
— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) June 25, 2023
The deal may lead to the dismantling of the powerful Wagner Group, with some of its fighters getting inducted into the regular Russian army. “A part of the Wagner private military company’s troops, who decided against participating in an armed mutiny, will be able to sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry, Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists,” the Russian state-run news agency TASS reported Sunday morning.
This is how the convoy of "Wagner" military equipment left Rostov-on-Don last night pic.twitter.com/6oNAJgqoPV
— Sprinter (@Sprinter99880) June 25, 2023
Rostov: Wagner fighters given hero’s farewell
The rebels were seen abandoning the southern Russian border town of Rostov-on-Don, which they took within the first hours of their uprising and without much military resistance. “The Wagner Group PMC contractors have begun leaving the premises of the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District in Rostov-on-Don. Footage from the scene shows the fighters packing their belongings and weaponry, and boarding combat vehicles,” the RT reported.
Clips posted on Twitter showed residents of Rostov cheering Prigozhin and his fighters as their armed convoy leaves the town, suggesting popular support for the mutineers and their cause.
In opposition to Putin, the Russian people are out on the streets of Rostov, chanting:
“Wagner, Wagner, Wagner”
This is far from over… pic.twitter.com/MN2bilRUXG
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) June 24, 2023
“In 24 hours we reached within 200km of Moscow,” Prigozhin boasted. “Over that time we didn’t shed a single drop of our men’s blood.”
“Now though the time has come when blood might be shed. Therefore, mindful of the responsibility that Russian blood might be shed by one of the parties, we are turning our columns round and moving off in the opposite direction, to the field camps, according to plan,” the Wagner chief said, justifying his decision to stand down.
Iran backs Putin, Moscow admits rebellion emboldens “Russia’s external enemies”
The revolt exposes Russia’s internal rifts at a time the Kremlin wages war against Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry on Sunday admitted that the war-time “mutiny plays into the hands of Russia’s external enemies.”
“We warn Western countries against undertaking even the slightest attempts to use the domestic Russian situation to achieve their Russophobic goals,” the ministry said in a statement on Telegram.
The Kremlin received support from the Iranian regime, perhaps the only Russian ally to openly back President Putin against the Wagner mutineers. “The Iranian side expressed support for the actions of the Russian leadership to ensure constitutional order,” the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed.DONATE
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