Wagner Group is a private military company comprised of mercenaries. Prigozhin, meanwhile, is a former confidante of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was nicknamed "Putin's chef" as he owned restaurants that serve the Kremlin. (Related: Russian paramilitary 'Wagner Group' said to have captured Ukrainian salt mines as experts predict war will escalate.)
On Saturday night, June 24, Prigozhin said he ordered his fighters to return to their field bases to "avoid bloodshed," ending the violent standoff that could have plunged Russia into civil war. Despite Putin accusing his former ally of treason, the Wagner chief has been allowed to go into exile in Belarus under a secret deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
According to reports, Putin has not been seen in public since the aborted mutiny. On Sunday, June 25, Russian state television only showed a pre-recorded interview wherein Putin vowed to step up efforts against Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Putin was "very afraid and probably hiding somewhere."
Garry Kasparov, a former world chess champion who has become one of the foremost leaders of the Russian democratic opposition, said Putin had been "humiliated" in the attempted rebellion. "The game ended with Putin's worst humiliation, a run for his life from Moscow when Prigozhin's army was hundreds of miles away," he told CNN. "Many of Putin's top officials ran for cover. A dictator relies on his aura of invincibility."
Sergey Sanovich, Hoover Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, who specializes in disinformation and autocracies, said Putin had never looked so weak, adding that needing Belarus's dictator Alexander Lukashenko to negotiate with Prigozhin on his behalf was a sign of how debilitated he was.
The pre-recorded video also included Putin lauding Wagner fighters for making the "right decision" of halting their advance, adding that the armed rebellion "would have been suppressed anyway."
"Those forces would now have the opportunity to sign a contract with Russia's Ministry of Defense or other law enforcement agencies, or to return to your family and friends," he said pointing out that the "protesters" could also opt to go to Belarus. Putin did not mention Prigozhin by name, but he accused the organizers of the rebellion of betraying their country and their people and also betrayed those who were drawn into the crime.
"They lied to them, pushed them to death, under fire, to shoot at their own. It was precisely this outcome, fratricide, that Russia's enemies wanted," he said in the five-minute speech, according to Russian state media TASS.
In a separate audio message, Prigozhin made his own comments, saying that the uprising was only a protest rather than a real attempt to topple the government.
"The purpose of the march was to prevent the destruction of PMC Wagner and to bring to justice those who, through their unprofessional actions, made a huge number of mistakes during the special military operation," Prigozhin said, referring to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
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Watch the video below where retired Gen. David Petraeus analyzes the conflict between Putin and Prigozhin.
This video is from the NewsClips channel on Brighteon.com.