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7 Russian Coup Update: Wagner Group Retreats, Putin Escapes

Russia was shaken by a coup attempt carried out by its own mercenaries, the Wagner Group, on Saturday (24/6/2023). This happened in the middle of a war between Moscow and Kyiv.
Surprising though it may be, signs of true rebellion have been emerging recently. The group is dissatisfied with President Vladimir Putin’s military performance and admits that they are often ‘trapped’.

1. The Wagner Group Retreats
Abruptly, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said he had canceled his troop’s march on Moscow and ordered them to get out of Rostov. Under a deal brokered by Belarus, Prigozhin agreed to leave Russia and move to Belarus.

He will not face charges and Wagner’s troops who took part in the mutiny will face no action in recognition of their former service to Russia.

2. Stop the Bloodshed
In a statement, Prigozhin said he wanted to avoid shedding Russian blood.

“Now the moment has come when blood can be shed,” he said. “Therefore, realizing all responsibility for the fact that Russian blood will be shed from one side, we will turn our convoy around and go in the opposite direction to our field camp.”

3. Belarusian Role
The Wagner leader was later pictured leaving the southern military district (SMD) headquarters in Rostov, which his troops had occupied on Saturday. Wagner’s troops also shot down three military helicopters and entered the Lipetsk area, about 360 km (225 miles) south of Moscow, before they were recalled.

The press office of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko was the first to announce that Prigozhin would step down, saying that Lukashenko had negotiated de-escalation with chief Wagner after speaking with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Lukashenko said Putin had since thanked him for his negotiating efforts.

4. Putin’s Attitude
Putin has not publicly commented on Lukashenko’s deal with Prigozhin. He appeared on television the previous Saturday in an emergency broadcast, issuing a nationwide call for unity in the face of a strike of rebellion that he compared to the revolution of 1917.

“Any internal rebellion is a mortal threat to our country, to us as a nation,” he said.

5. Putin Leaves Moscow
Putin reportedly boarded a plane out of Moscow bound for the northwest on Saturday afternoon. It is not clear where he went or his current whereabouts.

Based on data from Flightradar24, which reportedly shows the government plane it frequently uses departing from Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport bound for St. Petersberg and then disappeared from the radar

6. Zelensky’s comments
Before the Belarusian accord was announced, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that: “Everyone who chooses the path of evil will destroy himself. Whoever throws hundreds of thousands into war, will eventually have to barricade himself in the Moscow region from those he armes himself with.” .”

7. Ukraine Counterattack
The Ukrainian military said on Saturday that its troops were advancing near Bakhmut, on the eastern front, and further south. Deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar said the attack was launched near a group of villages surrounding Bakhmut, which Wagner’s troops captured in May after months of fighting.

Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, commander of the southern front, said Ukrainian troops had liberated an area near Krasnohorivka, west of the Russian-controlled regional center of Donetsk.

Source : CNBC