Wagner Group Leader Confirms Cancellation of Moscow Advance

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Evgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group private military company (PMC), announced late on Saturday that the PMC would be returning to its "field camps."

The group's units staged a mutiny, taking control of military and administrative sites in Rostov-on-Don and advancing towards Moscow. However, Prigozhin confirmed that the advancing columns would now return to their camps as planned, avoiding major bloodshed. He claimed that they had not shed a single drop of their fighters' blood during the operation, according to RT.

Reports indicate that the private military outfit engaged in clashes with Russian forces and downed multiple aircraft during the mutiny. This came after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's press service announced successful negotiations with Prigozhin. Lukashenko stated that Prigozhin had accepted his proposal to halt the movement of the armed Wagner men and work towards de-escalation. The statement also mentioned security guarantees for the PMC fighters.

The insurrection, which began on Friday and lasted through Saturday, saw the Wagner Group seize an army headquarters in southern Russia but ultimately failed to gain support from other units. The agreement brokered by Lukashenko includes an amnesty for Prigozhin.

The Wagner Group, founded by Evgeny Prigozhin, has had tensions with the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) in the past. Prigozhin has criticized top military officials and refused to sign an official contract with the Russian Defense Ministry. Late on Friday, he accused the Russian military of attacking Wagner's field camps, leading to the group's march towards Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the actions, calling them treasonous and stating that steps were being taken to restore order.

After talks between Lukashenko and Prigozhin, the Wagner convoy ceased its advance towards Moscow and returned to their bases. The Kremlin announced that the case against Prigozhin would be dropped, and he would leave for Belarus to avoid bloodshed. Wagner members would not be prosecuted due to their achievements in Ukraine.

In the meantime, the US postponed economic sanctions targeting the Wagner Group following these developments, in order to avoid appearing biased in the situation.

The Wagner Group has been under US sanctions since 2017 and has faced further restrictions due to alleged threats to religious freedom in Africa. The US and its allies, including France, Germany, and the UK, discussed the situation in Russia but refrained from making public comments or predictions.