The news from Russia concerning the Wagner mercenary revolt continues to unfold as President Vladimir Putin is now calling for “justice” against the revolt’s organizers. But before getting into that – let’s give context to the whole ordeal.
Monday, we covered how the Russian mercenary Wagner Group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, staged a revolt against the Russian military. Wagner Group ended up getting fairly far in this endeavor before abruptly ending their march toward Moscow within 24 hours and heading back to their camps in Ukraine.
Prigozhin was allowed to live in exile in Belarus and have all criminal charges against him dropped in exchange for the end of the revolt.
Since then, speculation has mounted on the reasons behind both the start of the revolt and what caused it to fizzle so quickly.
As for who started it – Russian intelligence is looking into whether or not there was a Western hand at play. President Joe Biden on Monday denied any U.S. involvement, instead indicating he was keeping a close eye on the situation.
Prigozhin has insisted that Wagner Group’s march was not intended to overthrow the government. In his first remarks since the end of the uprising, the mercenary group’s leader said it was a “march of justice” intended to protect them while protesting how the war in Ukraine has been carried out.
Regardless, Russia is looking for swift retribution.
In his first speech since the uprising began, Putin vowed that he would bring the organizers of the so-called “rebellion …to justice” – without namedropping Prigozhin directly.
He referred to Wagner Group’s actions as “treasonous” but noted that not all of its mercenaries were involved in the revolt.
A major concern of Putin’s during his speech was how this endeavor made Russia look on the global stage. Doing his best to project stability, Putin said the revolt was “suicide” that did nothing but aid Ukraine and its Western allies.
Still, he thanked Wagner Group for stopping their advance and thanked Russian security and citizens for making efforts to “avoid a lot of bloodshed.” Afterwards, Putin met with security and law enforcement officials to discuss the issue more.
It remains a matter of great debate and speculation as to why the revolt ended almost as quickly as it began. Perhaps the most shocking claim came from London’s Daily Telegraph, which said that the uprising ended after the Kremlin issued threats against family members of Wagner leaders.
Citing UK security services, which claim to have seen intelligence on the matter, the Telegraph also reported that there were fewer Wagner troops involved in the revolt than what Prigozhin had originally claimed.
It is worth noting that this has not been widely verified as of yet, but does put an interesting perspective into the weekend’s events.