Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner paramilitary group, released an audio recording stating that his forces were reversing their course away from Moscow, Your Content has learned.
This declaration came shortly after Prigozhin launched an insurrection that posed a significant challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authority, marking a notable turning point in their relationship.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner paramilitary group, published an audio recording on Saturday, announcing a retreat from their march toward Moscow.
This development occurred just hours after Prigozhin initiated an insurrection that posed a substantial threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authority, representing a significant shift in their dynamic.
In the message shared on Telegram, Prigozhin stated, “We are turning our columns around and going back in the other direction toward our field camps, in accordance with the plan.”
This decision came after his forces had claimed control over several military facilities and dispatched troops towards Moscow.
In response to Prigozhin’s actions, the Belarusian government asserted that President Alexander Lukashenko had reached an agreement with the Wagner leader to halt the advancement of his forces toward Moscow.
According to a statement released, “This morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin briefed his Belarusian counterpart on the situation in southern Russia with the private military company Wagner. The heads of state agreed on joint actions.”
Notably, Prigozhin, who had previously criticized Russia’s military leadership regarding their handling of the war in Ukraine, seemed to have taken a more direct stance against Putin.
His Saturday announcement indicated a change in approach, as he criticized the Russian president’s administration and described their actions as a “stab in the back of our country and our people.”
The Wagner group claimed to have gained control over a strategic military facility in Rostov-on-Don, a city in southern Russia, as well as another base in Voronezh, located approximately halfway between Rostov and Moscow.
Reports indicated that some Wagner troops were moving toward the capital, while the governor of the neighboring Lipetsk region advised civilians to stay at home, citing the movement of Wagner equipment across the region.
In response to the escalating situation, Russian officials implemented a major security operation in the Moscow region, enforcing a counter-terrorist regime.
Photos published by the Russian business newspaper Vedomosti showed Russian security forces positioned near a highway linking Moscow with southern Russia, equipped with body armor and automatic weapons.
Additionally, Monday was declared a non-working day, and public events were suspended until July 1 in the Moscow region.
As authorities cordoned off Wagner’s headquarters in St. Petersburg, a van containing boxes of cash worth approximately $47 million (4 billion rubles) was discovered near an alleged Wagner office at the Hotel Trezzini, according to Russian investigative outlet Fontanka.
Prigozhin claimed on Telegram that the money was intended for salaries and compensation for the families of fallen fighters.
President Putin addressed the nation in response to the unfolding events, denouncing Wagner’s actions as an insurrection and emphasizing that those involved would face punishment.
He stated, “All those who deliberately chose the path of treachery, who prepared an armed mutiny, who chose the path of blackmail and terrorist methods, will face inevitable punishment, and will answer both to the law and to our people.”
The situation has garnered international attention, with foreign leaders closely monitoring the events.
President Putin held discussions with the leaders of Belarus, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, while also speaking with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who expressed full support.
However, Western officials have been cautious about commenting on the situation to avoid potentially escalating the crisis further, according to CNN.
The escalation between Prigozhin and the Russian military