March to Moscow by Wagner Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has come to a halt with the army only 193 kilometres from the capital city. After a deal brokered by the Belarussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, Prigozhin says he is not willing to shed Russian blood on Russian soil.
June 24, 2023
The Wagner boss Prigozhin says in an audio message that his troops are returning back to their bases as he wants to “avoid bloodshed”. This is a dramatic development in the events that looked like an immense crisis for the Russian government a couple of hours ago. Prigozhin, the rebellious leader of Wagner says he did this “because of the risk of blood being spilled”.
This is a positive announcement that gives a breather to the citizens of Moscow in particular and the people of Russia in general. The situation escalated to the point some hours ago that the people of Moscow were booking flights out of the city or the country. Places of work were closed for Monday and the mayor of the city Sergey Sobyanin said the people to stay indoors.
This turn of events occur after the 5-minute speech of Putin said any act of treason by the corporate soldiers or other Russians will be dealt with the most harsh punishments of all.
The audio message shared by Prigozhin said: “They wanted to disband the Wagner military company. We embarked on a march of justice on June 23. In 24 hours we got to within 200 km of Moscow. In this time we did not spill a single drop of our fighters’ blood.
“Now the moment has come when blood could be spilled. Understanding responsibility [for the chance] that Russian blood will be spilled on one side, we are turning our columns around and going back to field camps as planned.”
Even so, no other messages came to clear the confusion on the status of the Kremlin when Prigozhin vowed to expel the Defence Minister of Russia, Sergei Shoigu in a bid to “restore justice”. The justice where they wanted to take revenge on the Russian army commanders who ordered to fire off some 51 cruise missiles and the launch of two self-destructive drones on the base of Wagner Group in Ukraine.
What could have been a bloody crisis in the modern history of Russia was averted by the Belarussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. He is more of a puppet of Putin than a close ally who claims to have been the middle man to find a stable ground for a chance to talk out the situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The office of Lukashenko confirmed the deal was accepted by Wagner Group leader Prigozhin on the condition that the safety and security of these corporate soldiers will be granted by the Russian government.