Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin halted coup plans after threats to family

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With an escalating internal conflict, exiled mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin reportedly halted his march on Moscow following threats to his family from Russian intelligence services, British sources reveal.

The Telegraph disclosed that Prigozhin’s decision was driven by a greater concern for the safety of his family than his initial claim of avoiding “shedding Russian blood”. This event marks a significant turning point in the battle for power within Russia, with signs of tension between Prigozhin and the Russian defense ministry becoming increasingly apparent.

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Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of Wagner Group, was believed to be leading a substantial force, estimated to be around 25,000, towards Moscow. However, British officials suggest the number was significantly less, approximately 8,000, making any attempt to seize the capital likely unsuccessful.

Prigozhin halts insurrection following family threats, exiled to Belarus

Prigozhin halts insurrection following family threats, exiled to Belarus. Photo courtesy of Government of the Russian Federation/Wikimedia Commons.

In a sudden turn of events, Prigozhin decided to call off his insurrection and accepted an offer of exile in Belarus. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was instrumental in negotiating this deal, marking an end to Prigozhin’s rebellion.

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In the aftermath of the failed coup, the Kremlin stated that Prigozhin would be pardoned from charges of treason. It is speculated that Russian President Vladimir Putin will absorb the remaining mercenaries into the Russian military, potentially removing its previous leaders. This move by Putin is considered a major concession, demonstrating his vulnerability in the face of public ultimatums.

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The US intelligence officials reportedly had prior knowledge of Prigozhin’s plans for an insurrection. Yet, they remained silent to avoid potential accusations from Putin of orchestrating a coup. The latest developments underscore the existing internal tensions within Russia, significantly influenced by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

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