Russian Coup Over: Wagner Group Retreats as Peace Agreement Reached

Russian Coup in Progress: Wagner Forces Attack Key Locations

In a surprising turn of events, the leader of the Wagner Group, Prigozhin, has announced the end of the coup attempt, saying that a “disjunction” has been reached to “avoid bloodshed.”

Russian media reports indicate that Belarusian President Lukashenko played a crucial role in brokering a peace agreement, which led Prigozhin to accept the terms and halt the movement of his forces.

Prigozhin has been forced to leave Russia for Belarus, where it is understood that he was granted amnesty as a condition to halt his military advance on Moscow.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the deal was brokered by the Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko.

Peskov said the criminal case that had been opened against Prigozhin for armed mutiny would be dropped, and that the Wagner fighters who had taken part in his “march for justice” would not face any action, in recognition of their previous service to Russia.

President Vladimir Putin described the attack on Russia by Wagner as a “military mutiny” and an “act of terror,” and accused the mercenary kingpin of “treason” and vowed to crush the growing armed rebellion.

Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin described the coup as a “march of justice” and said that he had ordered his troops to turn back from the advance on Moscow “to avoid shedding Russian blood.”

Prigozhin ordered his troops to march towards Moscow to seek “revenge” after accusing Russia’s military leadership of killing his forces. On Saturday night, the country’s first armed coup in decades appeared to come to an abrupt end, with Prigozhin announcing that his troops would return to base to avoid “Russian bloodshed”.

“We left on June 23 for the march of justice. In a day we walked 200 kilometers before reaching Moscow. During this time, we have not shed a single drop of the blood of our fighters. Now is the moment when blood can be shed. Therefore, realizing the full responsibility for the fact that Russian blood will be shed on one of the sides, we turn our columns around and head back to the field camps as planned,” Evgeny Prigozhin has been quoted on social media as saying from a post shared on Telegram, on a channel he usually uses.

Malawi 24 understands that all criminal cases against Prigozhin and his armed forces have been dropped, and that members of the Wagner paramilitary group have been granted full immunity from prosecution for mutiny, terrorism, and treason. Charges against his mercenaries will also be dropped following their rebellion.

Who is Yevgeny Prigozhin?

Wagner Group Leader Prigozhin Leaves Russia for Belarus
Russian Coup: Wagner Group Leader Prigozhin Leaves Russia for Belarus

The man who raised a force against Moscow is a former convict and hot dog seller, notorious for his ruthlessness, violence, and cruelty.

Born in St. Petersburg in 1961, he went to a sporting academy but fell in with petty criminals. Convicted of several violent robberies in 1980, he spent most of his 20s in jail.

Released in 1990 as the Soviet Union was in its death throes, he made his first modest fortune with a fast food stand, but soon had a stake in a supermarket chain, one of the best restaurants in his home city, and the ear and trust of powerful figures, including one Vladimir Putin.

Prigozhin spent more than a decade doing the catering for high-profile official events – photos show him serving Prince Charles and George Bush among others – and building up oligarch levels of wealth through government catering contracts and other deals.

The seeds of the current insurrection were sown nearly a decade ago when Russia illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula and sent proxy forces into eastern Ukraine. Prigozhin then founded the Wagner mercenary group, which gave Putin a tool for more active military intervention and some degree of plausible deniability.

Prigozhin also set up an army of keyboard trolls, and was indicted in the US for interfering – through his digital warriors – in the 2016 election that brought Trump to power.

Until last year, Prigozhin sued journalists who linked him to these activities, and insisted he only worked in catering and hospitality.

How did he create a private army?

Prigozhin built Wagner into a powerful force over years of interventions across Africa, the Middle East, and more recently Ukraine. Syria was the first place Prigozhin’s men established themselves as a formidable fighting force, playing a prominent, if often unacknowledged, role in Moscow’s support of Bashar al-Assad.

Wagner troops later fought across Africa in countries like Mali, the Central African.