Russia is facing a serious internal crisis as the Wagner Group, a private military company led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, has launched an armed rebellion against the Russian military. Prigozhin accused the military of attacking a Wagner camp and killing many of his men, and vowed to retaliate with force.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Russian Wagner mercenary group, may be exiled to Belarus as part of a deal that ended his armed rebellion against the Kremlin, which he accused of lying about the war in Ukraine.
Prigozhin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and a key figure in Russia’s covert operations abroad, launched a mutiny last week with thousands of his fighters, who seized a military base in Rostov-on-Don and marched towards Moscow.
He said he had 25,000 fighters ready to march on Moscow and find out why there was “such chaos in the country”. He later backtracked on his threat, saying he wanted to avoid shedding Russian blood and that his criticism was a “march of justice” and not a coup.
The Russian authorities have denied attacking Wagner troops, calling the claim “informational propaganda”. They have also opened a criminal case against Prigozhin, accusing him of calling for an armed civil conflict and a stab in the back of Russian servicemen fighting pro-fascist Ukrainian forces. They have urged Wagner fighters to detain their leader and warned them of legal consequences if they join his rebellion. Putin is aware of the situation, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.