The owner of the private military company Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin spoke out for the first time about the rebellion over the weekend, saying the group has no intention of overthrowing the government in Russia.
Boss Wagner Prigozhin on June 26 cited two reasons he decided to order his forces to turn back to their barracks while heading to Moscow during the weekend riots. He said he wanted to avoid the scenario of internal bloodshed in Russia.
In addition, he said the incident was intended to demonstrate protest and not to overthrow the government in Russia.
This is Prigozhin’s first comment since he ordered Wagner’s forces back to barracks on the evening of June 24. Prigozhin appeared in public on the evening of June 24 when Wagner withdrew his forces from a Russian military facility in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don.
“We traveled 780km overnight. We have about 200km to Moscow. We are sorry to have attacked the (Russian) planes but these planes dropped bombs and launched missiles,” he said.
“Worried about Wagner’s forces being wiped out”
He said the riots were aimed at preventing the Wagner force scenario from being erased and “bringing to justice those who, through their unprofessional actions, have made mistakes in the course of the war.” special military service (of Russia in Ukraine)”.
Wagner also accused the Russian Defense Ministry of planning to end the existence of this private military company from July 1.
“No one agreed to sign a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense because everyone understands the actual situation and thinks that this (signing a contract) could lead to a scenario of inability to fight,” Prigozin said. .
He said some members of Wagner have agreed to contract with the Department of Defense, but that is only a small part. “The members who decide to sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense are estimated at 1-2%,” he said.
Mr. Prigozhin said the “operation” to Moscow stopped when Wagner “made a reconnaissance of the area and realized that at that time there would be a lot of blood to be shed. Ours is enough to prove it”.
“At that time, (Belarusian President) Alexander Lukashenko offered to find a solution for Wagner forces within the legal jurisdiction,” he added.
With the mediation of Mr. Lukashenko, Wagner agreed to withdraw his troops to the barracks. Mr. Prigozhin also accepted a move to Belarus. In return, Russia pledged to drop the criminal investigation of Prigozhin, guarantee his safety, and a number of other concessions.
According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Lukashenko proposed an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to help resolve the mutiny to “avoid the scenario of bloodshed if Wagner continues to move towards Moscow. This proposal was approved by President Putin.
Wagner is a force that plays an important role in Russia’s military operations in eastern Ukraine, especially in the Bakhmut battlefield.
However, the relationship between Wagner and the Russian military has become strained recently when Wagner said that Moscow did not provide enough weapons and ammunition, causing them a great loss of manpower. Tensions escalated over the weekend when the Russian military was accused of launching missile attacks on Wagner units. The Russian Defense Ministry denied the allegation.