To prevent the death of Russian citizens, the leader of the Wagner force announced on Saturday that he had ordered his mercenaries to cease their advance on Moscow and withdraw to their field camps in Ukraine.
Yevgeny Prigozhin’s announcement appeared to diffuse a developing conflict. Moscow had prepared for the private army’s arrival under the insurgent general’s command. Vladimir Putin, the president, also threatened that he would suffer serious repercussions.
Even though his forces were only 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Moscow, according to Prigozhin, he chose to send them back rather than “shedding Russian blood.”
He remained silent over the Kremlin’s response to his demand that Sergei Shoigu, the defense minister, be fired. The Kremlin did not respond right away.
The news comes after a statement from Alexander Lukashenko’s office claimed that he had reached an agreement with Prigozhin after addressing the matter with Putin earlier.
According to Lukashenko’s office, Prigozhin has accepted his offer to stop the Wagner group’s advance and take additional measures to defuse the situation. The proposed agreement also includes security guarantees for Wagner forces. It was quite brief.
A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE IS HERE. The prior report from AP is below.
Red Square was closed down, checkpoints with armored vehicles and soldiers were set up on Moscow’s southern border, and the mayor asked drivers to avoid some highways as the Russian capital prepared for the arrival of a private army led by a dissident mercenary commander.
President Vladimir Putin pledged severe repercussions for those behind the armed insurrection organized by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former protege who drew his soldiers out of Ukraine, took control of a crucial military station in southern Russia, and moved toward Moscow.
The biggest challenge to Putin’s authority in his more than two decades in office came from Prigozhin’s actions.
Putin referred to the uprising as a “betrayal” and “treason” in an address he gave to the country on television.
Putin stated, “all those who planned the rebellion will face inevitable punishment.” The appropriate directives have been given to the military forces and other government organizations.
Authorities increased security and placed some restrictions on movement by announcing a “counterterrorist regime” in the nation’s capital and the area around it.
Soldiers placed machine guns, sandbags, and checkpoints on the southern fringes.
Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow, warned that traffic might be restricted in some areas of the city. He announced Monday to be a day off for most of the populace.
Workers dug up highway parts to impede the Wagner mercenary army’s advance. Red Square was off-limits, two significant museums were evacuated, and a park was shuttered.
According to the British Ministry of Defense, Prigozhin’s private army appeared to be in charge of the military command in Rostov-on-Don, a city 660 miles (nearly 1,000 kilometers) south of Moscow that oversees Russian activities in Ukraine.
Wagner forces and gear were also present in the Lipetsk province, about 360 kilometers (225 miles) south of Moscow, where authorities “are taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the population,” according to regional governor Igor Artamonov through Telegram. He said nothing further.
The tragic events occurred exactly 16 months after Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the greatest European conflict since World War II. It resulted in thousands of deaths, millions of displaced people, and the leveling of entire cities.
Ukrainians thought the internal strife in Russia would allow their army to retake land that Russian soldiers had taken.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, claimed that Moscow was experiencing “full-scale weakness” and that Kyiv was defending Europe from “the spread of Russian evil and chaos.”
After Prigozhin announced the armed insurrection on Friday night, the Federal Security Service, or FSB, demanded his arrest.
As Prigozhin stated, “we do not want the country to live on in corruption, deceit, and bureaucracy.”
“The president made a grave error when he said the motherland had been betrayed. We are citizens of our country, he declared in a voice message posted to his Telegram channel.