Wagner group chief says didn't march to overthrow Russian leadership: Report | World News - Hindustan Times
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Wagner group chief says didn't march to overthrow Russian leadership: Report

Jun 26, 2023 08:56 PM IST

Wagner group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said his mercenary group did not march to overthrow the Russian leadership.

Wagner group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin spoke for the first time since the aborted mutiny, saying his mercenary group did not march to overthrow the Russian leadership, multiple reports said.

In his 11-minute audio released on the Telegram app, Prigozhin said the group had intended to register a protest at the ineffectual conduct of the war in Ukraine.

“We started our march because of an injustice,” Prigozhin said while not offering details as to where he was or what his future plans are. Suspense continues over the whereabouts of the mercenary group's boss after he stopped short of marching to the Russian capital Moscow on Saturday.

While his men were just 200 kilometres from marching to a heavily-fortified Moscow, Prigozhin said he had decided to turn back to avoid ‘bloodshed’. The Kremlin had managed to negotiate a deal with the mercenary boss with the help of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.

ALSO READ: After Wagner mutiny, Russia working on bill to regulate private armies: Report

According to reports, Prigozhin had agreed to halt the advance in a proposed settlement including security guarantees for Wagner troops.

Russian president Vladimir Putin in a televised address to the nation had called the rebellion a ‘betrayal’ and ‘treason’ and had vowed ‘inevitable punishment’ to the rebels.

ALSO READ: Charges against Prigozhin remain even after 'exile' deal: Russian news agencies

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner Group military company.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner Group military company.

The 62-year-old Wagner chief has long ties to Putin and won lucrative catering contracts from the Kremlin, earning the nickname ‘Putin’s chef'.

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He shot into the limelight after he along with dozen other Russian nationals were charged with operating a covert social media campaign aimed at fomenting discord ahead of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election victory. He formed the Wagner mercenary group, which sent military contractors to Libya, Syria, several African countries and eventually Ukraine.

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