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Wagner group chief Prigozhin expected to avoid criminal charges and instead be exiled, report

Those who marched with Prigozhin will also avoid criminal prosecution.

Published: June 24, 2023 5:01pm

Updated: June 24, 2023 6:18pm

The Wagner group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led an alleged uprising against the Russian government, is likely not to face criminal charges and will instead be exiled, according to the Kremlin. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov stated on Saturday that the criminal case against Prigozhin will be dropped, according to a report from The New York Times. He is expected to go to Belarus.

It was reportedly negotiations between Prigozhin and President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus that led to the apparent agreement to end the security crisis that has gripped Russia and the world, and helped resolve the situation without armed fighting, according to the Times.

Those who marched with Prigozhin will also avoid criminal prosecution, according to reports. 

Prigozhin on Saturday ordered his mercenary forces to turn back and return to their bases, and stop heading toward Moscow.

Early reports of Russian President Vladimir Putin fleeing Moscow were denied by his spokesperson. 

Before the armed rebellion was called off, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin urged Russian residents to stay off the roads and declared Monday to be a non-working day for most residents, with exceptions for public service jobs and industrial enterprises.

Prigozhin has long feuded with the Ministry of Defense over its prosecution of the war in Ukraine. On Friday night, tensions reached a boiling point as Prigozhin announced he had withdrawn his forces from Ukraine and entered Russia via Rostov, CNN reported. He accused the Kremlin of attacking his men, which the government has strongly denied.

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