Wagner boss to be exiled to Belarus

Russian army servicemen, and police officers guard the highway at the entrance to Moscow, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2023.
Russian army servicemen, and police officers guard the highway at the entrance to Moscow, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2023. Copyright AP
By Euronews with AP
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As part of a deal to defuse rebellion tensions, neither Yevgeny Prigozhin nor his troops will face criminal charges.


Good evening. If you're just joining for the first time and want a quick snapshot of what's been going on, here's the key points to get you all caught up: 

  • Wagner boss Prigozhin says his forces are stopping their march on Moscow to avoid bloodshed
  • Wagner paramilitary forces were earlier driving north on the main highway towards Moscow, where new security measures had been put in place, and local residents were told not to travel.
  • The Kremlin accused the boss of private paramilitary company Wagner of attempting to stage a coup. 
  • Yevgeny Prigozhin insisted his forces were "patriots" who had the support of the Russian people. 
  • Prigozhin said his Wagner troops captured the Russian army HQ in Rostov-on-Don without firing a shot
  • In a speech to the nation, Vladimir Putin described Wagner's actions as a "stab in the back." 
  • Ukraine's President Zelenskyy says that in Russia there's "so much chaos, no lie can hide it."


Deal reached to avoid bloodbath - Kremlin

The Russian presidency and Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin reached an agreement, after a day of spectacular armed rebellion by paramilitaries from the Wagner group, "to avoid a bloodbath", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

"It was in the best interest to avoid a bloodbath," Mr Peskov told reporters, after Prigozhin ordered his men who were marching towards Moscow to turn around and go back.


Wagner fighters leave Rostov

Wagner group fighters, who occupied the Russian military headquarters in Rostov, in the south-west of Russia, since Saturday morning, have begun to leave this evening, an AFP journalist has reported.

Wagner fighters were leaving in minibuses, while the positioned tanks had not yet moved, according to the journalist.


Russian leadership has no control over anything - Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wagner's rebellion showed that "the Russian leadership has no control over anything". 

"The Kremlin man is obviously very scared and probably hiding somewhere," he said. 

His army claimed on Saturday "advances in all directions" on the eastern front where it claims to have launched new offensives.


Wagner boss says march on Moscow halted to avoid bloodshed

The head of the Wagner group Yevgeny Prigozhin says he has ordered his mercenaries to halt their march on Moscow and retreat to their field camps in Ukraine to avoid bloodshed.

Moscow had braced for the arrival of the private army led by the rebellious commander. 

Prigozhin said that while his men are just 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Moscow, he decided to turn them back to avoid “shedding Russian blood.” 


Belarusian President Lukashenko claims to have negotiated with Wagner's Prigozhin to stop movement of troops 

The Belarusian president says he negotiated with the head of the Wagner group, Evgeny Prigozhin, to stop the movements of his troops in Russia and to avoid any further escalation. 

"Evgeny Prigozhin has accepted the proposal of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko to stop the movements of the armed men of the Wagner society and measures for a de-escalation of tensions", according to the unofficial Telegram channel of the Belarusian presidency.


Putin is very scared: Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Vladimir Putin "is obviously very scared" of the Wagner Group rebellion and that he is "probably hiding somewhere" outside Moscow. 

"The man from the Kremlin is obviously very scared and is probably hiding somewhere. I'm sure he is no longer in Moscow," he said in his daily address.

"Today the world has seen that the Russian leadership has no control over anything. Nothing at all. It's total chaos," he said.

Meanwhile Ukraine announced advances in several directions of the Eastern Front


Kremlin official warns about nuclear safety

A senior Kremlin official has warned that a successful rebellion by the Wagner group would mean the mercenaries getting hold of Russia’s vast nuclear arsenal and raise an existential threat to the entire world.

“The history of mankind hasn’t yet seen the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons under control by bandits,” Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, said in remarks carried by Russian news agencies. “Such a crisis will not be limited by just one country’s borders, the world will be put on the brink of destruction.”

He added that “we won’t allow such a turn of events.”

Medvedev has frequently used hardline rhetoric since Russia sent troops into Ukraine, regularly reminding the West about Russia’s nuclear arsenal in a bid to discourage the US and its allies from ramping up weapons supplies to Kyiv.

Medvedev described the rebellion as a “well-planned operation aimed at seizing power in the country.” He claimed that some veterans of elite Russian military units and foreign actors could have been involved in it. (AP)


Mayor of Moscow says residents should limit their movements

The mayor of Moscow has advised residents to limit their movements and admitted on Saturday evening that the situation was "difficult" in the Russian capital.

Forces from the Wagner paramilitary group are travelling towards the Russian capital, and the mayor has declared Monday a non-working day to limit travel. 

"The situation is difficult," Sergei Sobyanin admitted bluntly. "In order to minimize the risks (...), I have decided to declare Monday a day off", except for certain activities and municipal services, added the mayor. 

He called on Muscovites to "limit as much as possible" their movements in the city and warned that traffic could be "blocked" on certain roads and in certain neighborhoods. (AFP)


Ukraine's foreign minister: 

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