After last week’s short-lived rebellion by Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, Russian military leadership is seeking to project strength and stability amid fear that Russian President Vladimir Putin may oust Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Prigozhin began his march on Moscow last Friday intending to confront Shoigu and Russian military leaders. And even after the rebellion’s quick end, Russian state media has speculated that Shoigu’s future is uncertain.
On Monday, the Defense Ministry released a video showing Shoigu inspecting troops in Ukraine, Reuters reported.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin called on Russian citizens to stand behind Putin, saying on Monday that Russia faced “a challenge to its stability.”
Under the terms of the deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to end the short-lived rebellion, Prigozhin agreed to move to Belarus.
Prigozhin, who has not been seen since he arrived in the southern Russian city of Rostov last Saturday, flew from Rostov to an airbase near Minsk on Tuesday morning. His arrival in Belarus was confirmed by President Lukashenko who said that the Wagner chief and some of his fighters would be permitted to remain there “for some time,” but at their “own expense,” the Associated Press reported.
Moscow said on Tuesday that plans were underway for the 25,000 Wagner troops who were fighting in Ukraine to turn over their heavy weapons to Russian forces.
As part of the deal brokered with President Lukashenko, Russian officials agreed to close the criminal investigation into the Wagner Group rebellion and said that neither Prigozhin nor any of his followers will face prosecution for last weekend’s rebellion.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to disclose the details of the deal Moscow made with Prigozhin, saying only that President Putin gave “certain guarantees” to avoid a “worst-case scenario.”