Russia has reportedly dropped criminal charges against Yevgeny Prigozhin and other members of the Wagner group. This after the group, led by Yevgeny Prigohzin, was said to be advancing on Moscow last week.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prigozhin had come to an agreement that resulted in amnesty for Wagner fighters. The development came about after Wagner troops claimed to have taken over a military installation in southern Russia near the Ukrainian border and begun a march toward Moscow.
An announcement by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) further revealed that Prigozhin and his associates would not face any criminal charges. Prigozhin said to be exiled to Belarus.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced Wagner soldiers were prepared to give military equipment to the Russian army, according to the New York Times.
The Wagner group, a pirvate militia, which is made up of roughly 25,000 soldiers, has a wide range of military equipment, including aircraft, tanks, and rocket launcher systems.
“It was established that its participants stopped their actions directly aimed at committing a crime on June 24,” the FSB said in a statement. “Taking into account these and other circumstances of value to the investigation, the investigative agency resolved on June 27 to terminate the criminal case.”
Last week, Putin claimed that Prigozhin’s activity was a “criminal, adventuristic campaign,” and “equivalent to armed mutiny.” Prighozin had issues with leading members of the Russian military. In his Monday message, he said that the Russian military was seeking to destroy his group, and that he was not seeking to overthrow the government, as many in the west had speculated.
Prigozhin released an audio message on Monday, saying that "We started our march because of an injustice. Civilians came out to meet us with Russian flags and Wagner emblems, they were happy when we arrived and walked past them."
"On the way," he continued, "we did not kill a single soldier on the ground. In a day, we were only 200 kilometres away from Moscow."
"We entered and completely took control of the city of Rostov. The civilians were glad to see us. We showed a master class on how February 24, 2022, should have looked like. We did not have the goal of overthrowing the existing regime and the legally elected government, which was said many times. We turned around to not shed Russian soldiers' blood."
As part of the agreement between Putin and Prigozhin, the Wagner troops will become part of the Russian forces, under the control of the Russian Defense Ministry, by July 1.