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Prigozhin’s Rebellion: Versions of Russia, Ukraine and the US

Units of PMC “Wagner” left the territory of the Lipetsk region, the press service of the government of the region reports on the afternoon of June 25. Governor Alexander Gusev, in turn, said that the columns of mercenaries were completing their movement through the territory of the Voronezh region. All restrictions on traffic on the highways of the Rostov region, introduced on June 24, have been canceled, RIA Novosti reports with reference to the regional department of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Earlier, units of the Wagner PMC and Yevgeny Prigozhin himself left Rostov-on-Don. Where the founder of a private military company is now is unknown.

On the morning of June 24, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Wagner PMC, announced that he had taken control of military facilities in Rostov-on-Don and decided to reach Moscow. He accused the military leadership of the Russian Federation , including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the head of the General Staff Gerasimov, of “genocide of the Russian people” and the failure of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine and announced a “justice march”, which supposedly should help bring the leadership of the Russian military department to justice . Closer to the night of June 24, PMC “Wagner” and the Russian authorities, through the mediation of Alexander Lukashenko, reached an agreement, the march of mercenaries towards Moscow was stopped. The Russian authorities pledged to stop the criminal case against Yevgeny Prigozhin and not to prosecute the participants in the rebellion. The founder of PMC “Wagner” will go to Belarus, and the fighters of a private military company should go to field camps.

According to Baza, during the mutiny, Wagner PMC fighters shot down at least two combat helicopters and one aircraft of the Ministry of Defense. The telegram channel Rybar, close to the Ministry of Defense, claims that on June 24, more than 20 pilots who were on board the downed planes and helicopters were killed. According to the channel, we are talking about seven helicopters and planes. The propaganda publication Readovka writes about 15 dead, including eight people on board the Il-18. Telegram channel Fightbomber announced 13 dead. Channel One correspondent Irina Kuksenkova claimsthat, near Voronezh, PMC “Wagner” shot down an Il-22, on board of which there were ten people. According to her, Prigozhin, when asked about the plane, allegedly answered that “the fool PVE in the convoy shot down everything that took off.” Kuksenkova also stated that the founder of the PMC agreed to pay 50 million rubles in compensation to the relatives of the dead pilots.

The exact number of dead and injured is unknown. The Department of Defense does not comment on its losses.

Russia version

On the afternoon of June 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin made an appeal, calling what was happening “treason”, “mutiny” and “a stab in the back”.

“We are faced with internal betrayal and treason,” Putin said, referring to Prigozhin’s actions. He reiterated that he was “trying to organize a rebellion” and threatened that “anyone who embarked on the path of blackmail and threats” would be punished.

“Any internal turmoil is a mortal threat to our statehood. Our actions will be tough,” Putin promised.

Putin did not name Prigozhin by his last name. But he acknowledged that the work of state and law enforcement agencies in Rostov was “actually blocked.” The president used practically the same wording about “drawing him into a criminal adventure with threats” as the military department, taking his side.

“The one who organized the military rebellion, raised arms against his comrades – they betrayed Russia and will be held accountable for this,” the President of the Russian Federation also said in his address. “I will do everything to defend the country and protect our statehood, our people.”

Putin compared the actions of the Wagner PMC and the entry of their units into Rostov with the events of 1917, when Russia, according to him, also faced treason and betrayal, as a result of which “the victory in the First World War was stolen from it.”

Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, in turn, expressed his conviction that this was a well-thought-out operation to seize power in the country.

By the evening of June 24, information appeared that Alexander Lukashenko had held talks with Yevgeny Prigozhin, they had reached an agreement to stop the movement of PMC fighters across Russia. Later, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov gave clarifications, saying that the criminal case against Prigozhin would be closed, and the founder of the Wagner PMC would leave for Belarus. The guarantee for his departure will be “the word of the president of Russia.” Part of the Wagner PMC fighters, who initially refused to participate in Prigozhin’s rebellion, will sign contracts with the Defense Ministry, Peskov said. Those fighters who took part in the riot will not be prosecuted “in view of their merit at the front,” the spokesman said.

Ukraine version

“Everyone who chooses the path of evil destroys himself.” This is how President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky commented on the rebellion initiated in Russia by the founder of Wagner PMC.

“Russia has long masked its weakness and stupidity of its rule with propaganda. And now there is already so much chaos that you can’t hide it with any lies. And all this is one person who again and again scares with the year 1917, although he is generally not capable of leading to anything else. Russia’s weakness is obvious, full-scale weakness, and the longer Russia keeps its troops and mercenaries on our soil, the more chaos, pain and problems it will get later,” Zelensky wrote on his Telegram channel .

“The split between the elites is too obvious. It will not work to agree and pretend that everything is settled,” Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, wrote on Twitter.

In an interview with Current Time, he said whether Kiev could be involved in the rebellion in Russia: “Ukraine is involved exclusively in those actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine that we carry out as part of offensive operations. Everything else develops naturally. We just look at it with sympathy “And we do not forget that Prigozhin is a war criminal for us. And we will demand some legal punishment for him as a result of the finale of this war.”

US version

The White House is “monitoring the situation” in Russia, and US President Joe Biden has been briefed on developments, National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge said on June 24. “We are monitoring the situation and will be consulting with allies and partners on these developments,” Hodge said in a statement.

The next day, the American media came out with materials claiming that on June 21, US intelligence informed the military and high-ranking representatives of the White House that the founder of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was preparing to stage a rebellion against the Russian authorities. This, in particular, was written by The New York Times , The Washington Post and CNN .

Despite the fact that the essence and timing of Prigozhin’s plan became clear shortly before the mutiny, “there were enough signals to tell the leadership that something was wrong,” an American official told The Washington Post on condition of anonymity. He suggests that the US government was ready for the rebellion of the head of the Wagner PMC.

U.S. intelligence officials believe that Prigozhin had been planning a serious challenge to Russia’s military leadership for quite some time, but his ultimate goal was unclear, CNN said .

In particular, they warned congressmen about the “movement and buildup” of Wagner weapons near the Russian border. One source of the publication believes that it took at least several days to organize. But another interlocutor of journalists noted that Rostov-on-Don is very close to the front line, so, perhaps, Prigozhin’s rebellion did not require long preparations.

American officials, journalists write, believed that the main trigger for the start of Prigozhin’s rebellion was the order of the Ministry of Defense obliging PMC fighters to sign a contract with the military department. However, they addThe New York Times, US civil servants were afraid to make any statements in order not to give Moscow officials a reason to claim US involvement in the conflict. In addition, the American authorities were not interested in helping the Russian president avoid a “serious” blow.

Source : currenttime