Putin Allows Wagner Fighters To Join Russian Army, Go To Belarus, Or Return Home
Putin allows Wagner fighters to join Russian army, go to Belarus, or return home after a recent revolt by the Wagner group mercenaries, which caused a stir in the country with their failed attempt to march on Moscow.
Hilda WorkmanJun 28, 202340109 Shares534790 Views
Putin allows Wagner fighters to join Russian army, go to Belarus, or return homeafter a recent revolt by the Wagner group mercenaries, which caused a stir in the country with their failed attempt to march on Moscow. The Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine and its Western allies of inciting violence and wanting Russians to harm each other.
In his first national address following the retreat of the rebels, Putin emphasized that he had given strict instructions to prevent bloodshed and had granted amnesty to the Wagner fighters. This mutiny posed the most significant challenge to Putin's rule of over two decades.
Video shows Wagner boss leaving Russian military headquarters
According to Putin's statement in a televised address,
From the start of the events, on my orders steps were taken to avoid large-scale bloodshed. It was precisely this fratricide that Russia’s enemies wanted: both the neo-Nazis in Kyiv and their Western patrons, and all sorts of national traitors. They wanted Russian soldiers to kill each other.- Russian president Vladimir Putin
During a meeting that included Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who was one of the main targets of the mutiny, President Vladimir Putin expressed his gratitude to the security officials for their efforts during the armed rebellion. Putin acknowledged their work and commended their dedication in handling the challenging situation.
“Civilian solidarity showed that any blackmail, any attempts to organize internal turmoil, is doomed to fail,” Putin said.
Furthermore, Putin announced that the Wagner fighters were given the option to either join the Russian army, depart for Belarus, or even return to their respective homes. This statement emphasized the flexibility offered to the mercenaries in deciding their future course of action, providing them with multiple choices to consider.
“Today you have the possibility to continue serving Russia by entering into a contract with the Ministry of Defense or other law enforcement agencies, or to return to your family and close ones… Whoever wants to can go to Belarus,” Putin said in his address.
The address, delivered after 10 p.m. Moscow time, seemed to serve as President Putin's attempt to reaffirm his authority over a nation that had been rattled by the recent events. It aimed to address concerns regarding potential vulnerabilities in Russia's security apparatus exposed by the mutiny.
Members of the Wagner Group sit atop a tank in a street
Moreover, the address appeared to be a strategic move to silence critics who had raised objections to Putin's decision to drop insurgency charges against Prigozhin. Particularly, hard-liners had voiced their disapproval, claiming that compromising with traitors was a mistake.
According to Prigozhin, the rebellion he ordered was in response to a Russian military missile strike that resulted in the deaths of approximately 30 Wagner fighters at one of their camps. In an 11-minute audio address posted on Telegram, he revealed that he accepted a deal to evade prosecution and relocate to Belarus, as Wagner could continue its operations from there. Prigozhin did not disclose his own whereabouts or the location of his fighters.
This audacious revolt by Prigozhin presented Putin with the most formidable challenge he has encountered in his more than 23 years as Russia's supreme leader. It raised doubts about the stability of a system where the rule of law can be easily disregarded, and where oligarchs and officials constantly vie for presidential favor, state benefits, and influence. Additionally, it exposed the deep divisions surrounding Putin's handling of the war in Ukraine and could have significant repercussions on the ongoing conflict.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military reported further advances in its counteroffensive aimed at expelling Russian occupying forces. Ukraine claimed to have gained control of Rivnopil, marking the ninth village recaptured this month. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar stated that Ukrainian forces had reclaimed approximately 50 square miles in the southern part of the country since the campaign began.
According to Prigozhin, the Wagner fighters vehemently opposed signing contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry, which they were instructed to do by July 1, as it would have essentially disbanded the group. It is worth noting, however, that Prigozhin's claim of commanding 25,000 fighters is widely seen as an exaggeration. British intelligence sources have suggested that the actual number is closer to 8,000, casting doubt on the extent of Wagner's manpower.