Wagner chief says march was to not to overthrow power in Russia

Public TV English
4 Min Read

MOSCOW: Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin on Monday said the purpose of the march towards Moscow was to stop the destruction of Wagner’s private military company and “bring to justice those who, through their unprofessional actions, made a huge number of mistakes during the special military operation”.

In an audio message released on Monday, he said that the march was a demonstration of protest and not intended to overthrow power.

Explaining his decision to turn around his march on Moscow, Prigozhin said he wanted to avoid Russian bloodshed. “We started our march because of an injustice. We went to demonstrate our protest and not to overthrow power in the country”, Prigozhin said in an audio message, Al Jazeera reported.

He, however, did not share any details regarding where he was or what his future plans are.

In his new audio message, Prigozhin said that about 30 of his fighters died in the Russian army’s attack on the mercenary group on Friday. He said the attack came days before Wagner was scheduled to leave its positions on June 30 and hand over equipment to the Southern Military District in Rostov.

“Overnight, we have walked 780 km (about 484 miles). Two hundred-something km (about 125 miles) were left to Moscow”, Prigozhin claimed in the latest audio message, as per CNN. He said, “Not a single soldier on the ground was killed”.

Yevgeny Prigozhin said the march stopped when the detachment “made a reconnaissance of the area, and it was obvious that, at that moment, a lot of blood would be shed. We felt that demonstrating what we were going to do was sufficient”, according to CNN.

He said Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has extended his hand and offered to find solutions regarding further work of Wagner Private Military Company in a legal jurisdiction, CNN reported.

On Saturday, Prigozhin had agreed to depart for Belarus after a deal apparently mediated by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, which ended the armed rebellion, the report said. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Lukashenko had suggested the deal to Russian President Vladimir Putin to help resolve the brief mutiny during a phone call on Saturday.

Earlier, Wagner group left the Lipetsk region after its chief Yevgeny Prigozhin decided to halt his forces’ march to Moscow, according to CNN citing the regional government.

“Units of PMC Wagner, which stopped the day before in the Lipetsk region, left the territory of the region”, it said on Telegram. It comes after the governor of the southern Russian region of Voronezh said Wagner units are continuing their withdrawal and forces are departing “steadily and without incident”.

Last Saturday, Prigozhin said his forces have taken control of military facilities, including the airfield in Rostov-on-Don, according to CNN. Prigozhin’s actions come after he accused Russian forces of striking a Wagner military camp and killing “a huge amount” of his fighters. Russia’s Ministry of Defence has denied his claim and termed it an “information provocation”.

After Prigozhin’s statement, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, in a televised address to the nation, said the “armed mutiny” by the Wagner Group is a “stab in the back”, and vowed to punish those who were on the “path of treason” or anyone who takes up arms against the Russian military. (ANI)

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