Plane linked to Wagner boss Prigozhin lands in Belarus
A private business jet linked to Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin landed in Belarus on Tuesday, data from flight-tracking website Flightradar24 showed.
The Embraer Legacy 600 aircraft, registration number RA-02795, matches the identification codes of the jet belonging to Prigozhin, according to the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). It landed early on Tuesday morning near Minsk, having taken off from St. Petersburg shortly after 1 a.m. local time (5 p.m. ET Monday), though it is not yet known who was on board.
Under the deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko over the weekend, which brought a halt to Wagner’s rebellion against Moscow, Prigozhin has been effectively exiled to Belarus. His exact whereabouts have been unknown since the uprising.
— Elliot Smith
Russia’s FSB drops criminal case against rebels, state media reports
Members of the Wagner Group prepare to depart from the Southern Military District’s headquarters and return to their base on June 24, 2023 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. (Photo by Feodor Larin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Feodor Larin | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russia’s FSB (Federal Security Service) has closed its criminal case against armed rebels involved in the failed Wagner Group mutiny over the weekend, state-owned news agencies reported Tuesday citing the FSB’s Center of Special Operations.
“In the course of the investigation of a criminal case initiated by the investigative department of the FSB of the Russian Federation on June 23 under Article 279 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation on the fact of an armed rebellion, it was established that on June 24 its participants stopped actions directly aimed at committing a crime,” the security service said, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
“Taking into account this and other circumstances relevant to the investigation, on June 27, the investigating authority issued a decision to close the criminal case.”
Wagner Group fighters on Saturday captured a military headquarters in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don before advancing toward Moscow.
However, the private mercenary group’s march was halted when Prigozhin reportedly cut a deal with the Kremlin, brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
RIA also reported on Tuesday that Wagner is preparing to hand over its heavy artillery to the Russian defense ministry.
— Elliot Smith
Gains for Ukraine air forces near Donetsk, British Ministry of Defence says
Ukrainian air forces have made small advances east from the village of Krasnohorivka, near Donetsk city, according to the British Ministry of Defence.
“This is one of the first instances since Russia’s February 2022 invasion that Ukrainian forces have highly likely recaptured an area of territory occupied by Russia since 2014,” the MoD said in an update Tuesday.
“Recent multiple concurrent Ukrainian assaults throughout the Donbas have likely overstretched Donetsk People’s Republic and Chechen forces operating in this area.”
U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Parliament on Monday that as part of its summer counteroffensive, Ukraine had already recaptured approximately 300 square kilometers, which he said was “more than Russia seized in its whole winter offensive.”
— Elliot Smith
Zelenskyy praises Ukrainian advances after trip to frontline
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday praised Ukrainian forces for advancing “in all directions,” after he spent the day visiting and distributing awards to troops on the frontline in parts of eastern and southern Ukraine.
“Today, our warriors have advanced in all directions, and it is a happy day,” the president said in a nightly video address, according to a translation.
— Elliot Smith
Putin honors Russian pilots killed in Wagner Group mutiny
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with the country’s top security officials in Moscow on June 26, 2023.
Valery Sharifulin | Afp | Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday paid tribute to fighter pilots killed during the Wagner Group’s aborted mutiny over the weekend.
In a televised address, Putin’s first public remarks since Saturday’s armed rebellion, he thanked Russian citizens, law enforcement and security services for their unity and praised the fallen pilots for their “courage and self-sacrifice.”
This was Putin’s first acknowledgment of the pilots’ deaths after Wagner forces downed Russian aircraft during the 24-hour revolt, but there is no official information as yet on how many aircraft were shot down and how many Russian pilots died.
— Elliot Smith
Putin addresses Russians, calls Wagner rebellion ‘criminal’
A screen grab captured from a video shows Russian President Vladimir Putin making a statement amid escalating tensions between the Kremlin and the head of paramilitary group Wagner in Moscow on June 24, 2023.
Kremlin Press Office| Handout | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin has delivered his first televised address since Wagner Group mercenaries instigated a failed mutiny against Russian military leaders over the weekend.
Putin called the rebellion “criminal activity to split and weaken the country, which is now confronting a colossal external threat,” meaning the international response to Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian president said the organizers of the armed insurrection would be “brought to justice,” yet he did not mention Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin by name.
He also offered apparent clemency to the hundreds of Wagner mercenaries who participated in the armed march from the southern city of Rostov to about 200 miles outside Moscow.
The speech did little to clarify what comes next for the Wagner Group or for the Russian military, which was unprepared for the speed and ease with which the rebel convoy traveled through the country on major highways.
In his speech, Putin insisted his troops would have crushed the rebellion if it had proceeded any further.
— Christina Wilkie