The founder of the Wagner Group and leader of an aborted coup against Russia, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has issued an 11-minute audio message on his Telegram channel, saying that Saturday’s “march” towards Moscow had highlighted “serious” security issues in the country.
Prigozhin added that, through their actions, his forces had “shown a masterclass” on how Russia’s full-scale invasion should have been conducted.
He added that the aim of the demonstration was not to overthrow the country’s leadership, but to avoid the destruction of the Wagner group of mercenaries by the Russian Ministry of Defense, which he said they were intending to terminate on July 1.
The was the first time Prigozhin had been heard from since he called off the coup and turned his troops back on the evening of June 24.
As part of a deal struck between Prigozhin and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is said to have been brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Prigozhin was to relocate to Belarus. His location has yet to be confirmed and there are no clues in this latest Telegram post.
He said: “The aim of the march was to avoid the destruction of Wagner and to hold to account the officials who through their unprofessional actions have committed a massive number of errors.”
He says Wagner regrets “they had to hit Russian aviation” and they turned around “to avoid spilling the blood of Russian soldiers.”
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