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Russia says preparing to transfer Wagner hardware to army’s possession

Members of Wagner group looks from a military vehicle in Rostov-on-Don late on June 24, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Russia says it was preparing to hand over military hardware belonging to the Wagner Group to the country’s regular army after the brief mutiny staged by the private military company over the weekend.

“Preparations are underway for the transfer of heavy military equipment from the private military company Wagner to units of the Russian armed forces,” Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement online on Tuesday.

The Wagner Group led by Yevgeny Prigozhin led a mutiny against the Russian military leadership on Friday night. Prigozhin seized the major southern city of Rostov and sent his forces on a “march of justice” to Moscow.

In an audio statement, Prigozhin said he aimed “to prevent the destruction of the Wagner private military company,” and that the mutiny was in response to an attack on a Wagner camp that killed some of his fighters.

However, following an intervention by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, the mutiny ended and Russia dropped charges against Prigozhin and said he was free to go to Belarus.

Russia drops charges against Wagner

Also on Tuesday, Russia’s FSB security services announced that a case against fighters of the Wagner over the mutiny has been dropped.

“The criminal case open over the armed uprising by the private military company Wagner has been closed,” Russian news agencies cited the FSB as saying in a statement.

The timely agreement prevented a bloodbath on Russian territory.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has described the events that unfolded over the weekend in the form of the mutiny as “tragic.” Still praising the deal, the Russian official said avoiding bloodshed was more important than punishing people.

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