Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin will move to Belarus and the criminal case against him will be dropped, as part of a deal to defuse his private mercenary group’s rebellion, a Kremlin spokesperson said on Saturday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained that Prigozhin’s troops will also not face prosecution for their participation in the “armed mutiny,” according to Russian state-owned news agency TASS.
Those who did not participate will be offered contracts by the Russian Defense Ministry, The Associated Press reported.
Prigozhin, whose army began advancing on Moscow on Friday, said that his troops would return to their bases on Saturday to “avoid shedding Russian blood.”
“We [are] turning our columns around and going back in the other direction toward our field camps, in accordance with the plan,” he said in a message on Telegram.
Related coverage from The Hill
Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, a staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, helped negotiate the deal with Prigozhin, according to a statement from Lukashenko’s office.
Prigozhin had called for an armed rebellion to remove Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu from power, after alleging that the Russian military killed scores of his fighters in a strike on a Wagner camp site.
Putin vowed to put down the “armed mutiny” earlier on Saturday, saying that Russia’s response would be “harsh.”
“All those who have consciously chosen the path of betrayal, planned an armed mutiny and taken the path of blackmail and terrorism, will inevitably be punished and will answer before the law and our people,” Putin said.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.