Vladimir Putin slams ‘treason’ from Wagner mercenary group
Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin has reportedly begun his exile in Belarus in a windowless hotel in the capital city of Minsk.
Mark Walker, chairman of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, commented on these rumours, suggesting that if true they may signal the warlord is fearing Vladimir Putin’s retribution.
He said: “That would show what his mindset is.
“There have been a number of Russian entity individuals who have run afoul of Putin over the last year and a half, who have mysteriously fallen out of fifth, sixth or seventh floor windows.”
Pavel Antov, a critic of Putin, died in December last year after falling from a hotel window in India, where he was celebrating his 65th birthday.
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A few months prior, Russian energy oligarch Ravil Maganov also died after falling from a hospital window. His oil company, Lukoil, had previously issued a statement expressing “deepest concerns” about the conflict in Ukraine.
Prigozhin himself hasn’t confirmed his whereabouts, but on Tuesday Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko mentioned he was already in the country’s airspace.
During a lengthy press conference, he said: “Security guarantees were provided. I see that Prigozhin is already flying on this plane. Yes, indeed, he is in Belarus today.”
Prigozhin launched a short-lived mutiny on Saturday, which saw his troops taking over the city of Rostov – one of the key military commands for the war in Ukraine – and marching on Moscow.
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Lukashenko was reportedly pivotal in cutting short the Wagner rebellion, as he brokered a deal on Saturday afternoon which prompted Prigozhin to order his mercenaries to stand down and stop their march towards the Russian capital.
For agreeing to call off the rebellion, Prigozhin and his troops won’t face criminal charges, it was shared on the weekend.
It was also reported the warlord would effectively go into exile in Belarus.
In a speech released on Monday afternoon, Putin gave Wagner troops the options to either sign contracts with the Russian Army, follow Prigozhin to Belarus or go home.
In that same speech, the Russian President labelled the organisers of the rebellion traitors.
Without mentioning Prigozhin, he said: “The organizers of this rebellion not only betrayed their country and their people, but also betrayed those whom they dragged into this mutiny.”
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