Putin's Non-Prosecution Deal for Wagner Already Revoked, Prigozhin Denies It Was a Coup

Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

As previously reported, Yevgeny Prigozhin halted his Wagner group mercenaries’ coup d’etat march on Saturday, about 125 miles shy of Russia’s Capital city of Moscow. This decision to abandon the coup attempt was reported to be based on a non-prosecution negotiation brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a key ally of Vladimir Putin. Per the agreement, Prigozhin was to go into exile in Belarus, and the Kremlin was supposed to drop prosecution charges against the Wagner leader and his troops.

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The feel-good nature of the resolution to abort a revolt on the Kremlin just didn’t sit right with me, and I explored that further in a piece for RedState‘s VIP readers, here:

The Elusive Truth of the Wagner Warlord’s Coup

But the illusions of a handshake truce and setting off into the sunset are already dissolving. According to RIA Novosti, the Russian state news agency, the criminal case against Prigozhin has not been dropped, contrary to previous claims. The official state news agency TASS confirmed that the investigation into the mutiny, which deeply embarrassed President Vladimir Putin, was still ongoing.

A source from the Prosecutor General’s Office stated: “The criminal case against Prigozhin did not stop. The investigation continues.”

On Friday, the FSB, Russia’s domestic intelligence service, initiated a criminal probe against Prigozhin on charges “for the organization of armed insurrection.” If convicted, Prigozhin could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Prigozhin’s current whereabouts are unknown since leaving a Russian military base in a civilian vehicle.

The Wagner mercenaries were to rejoin the fight in Ukraine under contract to the Ministry of Defense. Those contracts had been a contention reported between the Wagner boss and Putin in recent weeks. Details of the agreement were reported by state media, while the outspoken Prigozhin remained quiet on the issue through the weekend. On Monday, he released an 11-minute message, relaying that the contracts, which would put his troops under Kremlin’s command, were the crux of the revolt.

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In his message, the Wagner leader denies that his aim was to overthrow Russia’s government, claiming instead that it was in an attempt to not have his troops disbanded.

 

An automated translation of Prigozhin’s audio message is available here:

The course of events. I want to make sure there are no leaks. I opened the press office today and I got thousands of questions about the events that happened. So that there’s no confusion, I want to answer. The main ones are:. The first one. What were the conditions? The Chief Justice Wagner is perhaps the most experienced and the most capable fighting unit in Russia, and possibly the world. They’re motivated, charged fighters who performed a huge number of tasks in the interest of the Russian Federation, and always only in the interests of the Russian Federation, in Africa, in the Arab world and around the world. Recently, this unit has achieved, the European Union has been able to achieve good results in Ukraine, by completing the most serious tasks. As a result of the intrigue this unit should have ceased to exist July 1 , ’23 .
The council of commanders was assembled, and they passed on all the information to the soldiers. No one’s agreed to sign a contract with the Department of Defense because everything’s fine… know from their current situation, their experience during the CWM, that it will result in a complete loss of the battlefield . Experienced fighters, experienced commanders will just be smeared and go in fact to meat, where they can’t use their fighting potential and combat experience. Those fighters who decided they were ready to go to the Ministry of Defense, went. But that’s the minimum amount calculated in percent-two. All the arguments that were in order to keep the PWC in the following are the main types of data that are used for the purposes of the report:. But none of them have been implemented in attempts to enter the any other structure where we can really benefit. We were adamant against what they want to do. And with the decision to move to the Defense Ministry and understanding our attitude the decision to close Wagner’s PWC was made at the most inopportune moment.
However, we did exhibit we’d get the equipment for the herb, we’d get everything we needed, we’d take inventory, and we’d get ready in case, if the decision is not made, go on June 30 column in Rostov and publicly hand over the equipment near the SVO headquarters . Even though we didn’t show any aggression, we were hit.  The missile strike and the helicopters that followed it. About 33 people from the PMK killed, some injured. This triggered the immediate. The commanders have decided that we must move immediately. I made a statement that I said we’re not going to be aggressive in any way, but if we’re going to be, if we’re attacked, we’ll take it as an attempt to destroy and respond. During the entire march, which lasted 24 hours, one of the columns went to Rostov, the other in the direction of Moscow.
We’ve covered 450 miles in 24 hours, not a single soldier on the ground has been killed. We regret that we had to hit the air force, but the air force dropped bombs and launched a missile strike. We’ve traveled 450 miles in 24 hours, never made it past 200 small kilometers to Moscow. During that time, all military facilities have been locked down and neutralized who were on the way. No one was killed, we repeat, of those who were on the ground. And that was our job. Among the fighters of the PMK “Wagner” several people were wounded and two were killed, who have joined us, military and defense personnel, of their own free will. None of the the soldiers of the PMK Wagner was not forced to this campaign and everyone knew his ultimate goal.
The Purpose of the Campaign, the Commission’s main objective was to prevent the destruction of the Wagner PMC and to bring to justice those who had unprofessional actions have made a huge number of mistakes during the SCO. It took the public, all the military who saw us marching, they were supporting us. We had not made it to Moscow, some 125 miles [200 km], having traveled 450 miles [780 km] each way. We stopped at the moment when the first assault squad, which had come 200 kilometers to Moscow, I deployed my artillery, I did a reconnaissance of the area, and it was obvious that at that moment there will be bloodshed. So we thought that a demonstration of what we were going to do, she ‘s enough .
And our decision to turn around was driven by two key factors. The first factor is, we didn’t want to spill Russian blood. The second factor is that we went to demonstrate our protest, not to overthrow the government in the country. At that time , Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko reached out his hand and said: suggested finding a solution for further work of the PWC “Wagner” in a legal jurisdiction. The columns turned back and went to the field camps.
I want to make a point and what we’ve seen in our march for justice is that it’s shown a lot of the things that we’ve talked about before, a serious security problem across the country . We ‘ve blocked all military, the parts of the airfield that were in our way. In 24 hours, we’ve covered that distance, which corresponds to the distance from the start of the Russian troops on February 24 , 22 to Kiev and from this same point to Uzhhorod. So if the action of February 24, 22 at the time of the beginning the task force was divided into units based on their level of training, morale and if we had a mission like the Wagner PMC, it might have taken 24 hours.
Of course, there were other problems, but we showed the level of organization that should be it ‘s Russian army. And when we walked past Russian cities on June 23-24, the peaceful people greeted us with Russian flags and with the emblems and flags of the PMC Wagner. They were all happy, when we came and when we passed. Many of them still write letters of support, and some are disappointed that we stopped because in the March for Justice, in addition to our struggle for existence, they saw support for fighting bureaucracy and other ills that we have in our country today. These are the basic questions that I can answer, to avoid any misunderstandings, both in Russian social networks and media and in foreign networks.
So, our march began because of injustice. On the road on the ground we didn’t kill a single soldier In less than a day, they reached only 200 kilometers to Moscow, entered and completely took control of the city of Rostov. The peaceful residents were happy to see us. We showed a workshop how February 24th, 22nd, would have looked we had no intention of overthrowing the existing regime and the legitimately elected government, as has been said many times. We turned around to avoid shedding the blood of Russian soldiers.
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