Moscow, June 25 (EFE).- Wagner warriors began returning to their bases on Sunday after the private mercenary group sparked a rebellion against Russian military command in a lightning mutiny that came to a dramatic halt just minutes before their intended march into the capital city.
Voronezh Governor Alexander Gusev confirmed that fighters from the private paramilitary group had left the southern region, despite the travel restrictions imposed on Saturday.
“The movement of Wagner units through the Voronezh region is ending,” Gusev wrote on his Telegram channel. “It is running normally and without incidents.”
Gusev also stated that the travel restrictions imposed during the operation against the mutiny would be lifted once “the situation is finally resolved.”
The mercenary group, led by billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin, announced a dramatic U-turn 24 hours after embarking on a “march for justice” in response to an alleged Russian army attack on his fighters.
Prigozhin’s forces were 200 km (120 miles) south of Moscow when he halted the rebellion and ordered his fighters to return to their bases.
He explained that he called off the march to avoid bloodshed. “The moment has come when blood may be shed. Therefore, recognizing our full responsibility for the possibility of Russian blood being shed by either side, we are turning our columns around.”
Meanwhile, life was gradually returning to normal, and traffic had resumed on the roads in the regions through which the Wagner military columns had advanced towards the Russian capital.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko reportedly negotiated with Prigozhin to halt Wagner’s march into Moscow.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov disclosed some of the terms of the agreement brokered by Lukashenko, including an amnesty for Prigozhin and all Wagner personnel involved in the mutiny.
“The criminal case that was opened against him will be closed and he (Prigozhin) will go to Belarus,” Peskov said, according to TASS news agency. “The guarantee that Prigozhin will be able to leave for Belarus is the word of the president of Russia.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin had vowed to quell the rebellion, labeling it an act of treason.
“Those who organized and prepared the military rebellion have betrayed Moscow and will answer for it,” he said in a televised address to the nation.
Pointing to the historical consequences of internal divisions, Putin drew parallels with the disintegration of the Russian state and the loss of territories in 1917 during World War I.
Meanwhile, Chechen special forces deployed in Russia’s Rostov region to stop Wagner mercenary group have started withdrawing, the TASS news agency said, citing Chechen Commander Apti Alaudinov.
The news agency said the Chechen forces would return to “the special military operation to continue their missions to liberate Márinka.”
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov previously reported on his Telegram channel that Akhmat’s fighters stationed in the Rostov region “were waiting for the order to carry out the mission”, but “the situation was resolved without a direct confrontation.” EFE