After nearly 24 hours of tension in Russia, Wagner’s boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, ordered mercenaries on their way to Moscow to return to their bases to “avoid bloodshed. “The time has come when blood can be spilled. For this reason, we bear full responsibility for the spilling of Russian blood by one of the parties, our columns are turning and returning to our bases according to plan,” he said in his Telegram audio message.
The order came after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he had begun negotiations on a de-escalation deal with Prigozhin. “Eugene Prigozhin accepted the proposal of the President of Belarus regarding the advance of Wagner’s troops on Russian territory and future steps to reduce tensions,” Lukashenko’s press service explained on Telegram.
On Friday night, mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin lashed out in absentia against the Russian Defense Ministry’s military command, particularly against Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, whom he accused of “destruction.” “100,000 Russian troops and creating ‘chaos’ with his command style in the Ukraine war. Prigozhin also claimed that dozens of his fighters had been killed in the Russian missile attack – which Moscow denies – and promised “revenge”. It was then that Prigozhin called for a “March for Justice” in Moscow, which some sectors understood as a coup attempt, which Wagner’s boss rejected.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, promised to neutralize Prigozhin’s “armed rebellion” this morning. The Kremlin chief, who called the uprising a “stab in the back”, said the perpetrators would be punished and that the army and law enforcement had taken “necessary orders” in the country, where security measures had been tightened. strengthen
In a provocative response to Putin’s speech, Prigozhin directly accused the president, saying he was “deeply mistaken in betraying the fatherland.” “No one is going to surrender (…). We do not want the country to continue living in corruption, bureaucracy and lies,” he added in an audio on his Telegram channel. “We are patriots and those who stand against us are those who unite around scoundrels.” In a subsequent message, Wagner’s leader assured that his forces would be attacked “first with artillery and then with helicopters.”
Arrival in Rostov-on-Don
The owner of the Wagner Group said on Saturday morning that he and his troops had arrived in the Russian capital of Rostov-on-Don after crossing the border into Ukraine. In videos posted on social media early Saturday, Prigozhin said he was at the headquarters of the Southern Military District in Rostov and demanded that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russia’s top general Valery Gerasimov travel to the city, 1,000 kilometers south of Moscow. and an important logistical hub in the invasion of Ukraine.
In the afternoon, around 16:30 local time, local authorities reported that there were columns from Wagner El Lipetsk, less than 400 kilometers south of Moscow. Shortly after this position became known, the mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, asked the city’s residents to reduce forced displacement “as much as possible” and declared Monday a “non-working” day, except for the authorities and the public. service. Around 20:00 it was reported that Prigozhin had ordered the troops back to their bases to avoid “bloodshed”.
As tensions escalated, speculation about Putin’s whereabouts grew, with some reports suggesting his presidential plane took off from Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport at 2:16 p.m. and headed northwest. Moscow time. According to data from the FlightRadar monitoring website provided by the same media, the plane reached the Tver region – about 180 kilometers from Moscow and where the Russian president’s residence is – before disappearing from the system. However, there is no confirmation that Putin was on the plane. His press secretary Dmitry Peskov denied the fact of his departure and assured that he “works in the Kremlin”.
Ukraine: “Russia’s weakness is obvious”
For now, Western countries say they are closely monitoring the events. European Council President Charles Michel said this Saturday that he is in contact with EU leaders to analyze the situation. Michel noted that what is happening in Russia is a “domestic matter” that he is “monitoring,” as is the United States, which said President Joe Biden is monitoring information about what happened with the Wagners as an escalation. growing.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also responded to the events, asserting that Russia’s “large-scale weakness” is “obvious”. …), although he is not capable of anything else. Russia’s weakness is obvious. Large-scale weakness,” he wrote on the Telegram channel.
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Source: El Diario