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Exiled Wagner boss breaks silence in new audio message

Exiled Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has released an audio message for the first time since abandoning a march to Moscow.

In the 11-minute clip, he defended his so-called “march for justice”, which was launched amid claims that 30 Wagner troops had been killed in a rocket attack ordered by Russian military leaders.

“We started our march because of an injustice,” he said.

Wagner troops reportedly advanced north to 120 miles (200km) from Moscow when their convoy turned back. The red bars indicate Russian road blockades or defences

But explaining why the advance was abandoned, Prigozhin said he did not want to shed Russian blood – and insisted that he had no intention of overthrowing the government.


He added: “We have shown the level of organisation that an army must meet.”

Describing the moment he decided to order his fighters to halt their advance on Moscow, Prigozhin said: “We felt that the demonstration of what we were going to do was enough. And our decision to turn back was influenced by two most important factors.

“The first factor was that we did not want to shed Russian blood.

“The second factor was that we were going for a demonstration of our protest, not to overthrow the government in the country.”

Read more:
Russia civil unrest triggered by Wagner mercenary mutiny offers hope to Ukrainians
The former hot dog seller and thug who became Wagner boss at centre of mutiny

Prigozhin’s rebellion triggers Putin’s most serious domestic crisis since his invasion of Ukraine

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Wagner convoy leaves Voronezh region

‘Some are disappointed that we stopped’

Prigozhin also insisted that he is still receiving words of support from civilians – and some of his fighters were greeted with flags.

“They were all happy when we passed by. Many of them still write words of support, and some are disappointed that we stopped,” he said.

He did not offer any details about where he was, or what his future plans are.

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Prigozhin ‘not welcome in Belarus’

Prigozhin also said Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko “extended his hand and offered to find solutions for the further operation of Wagner in a legitimate jurisdiction”.

It comes after the Kremlin said it had made a deal for Prigozhin to move to Belarus and receive amnesty, along with his troops.

There has been no confirmation of his whereabouts on Monday, although a Russian news channel on Telegram reported he was seen at a hotel in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

Meanwhile on Monday Vladimir Putin made his first public statement since the 24-hour mutiny.

In a video uploaded to the Kremlin website, the Russian president failed to mention the assault and instead congratulated the participants of an industrial forum.

US President Joe Biden said it was important leaders gave Putin “no excuse” to blame the mutiny on the West or on NATO.

“We made it clear we were not involved,” the president said. “We had nothing to do with it.

“This was part of a struggle within the Russian system.”


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