Putin boasts of averting civil war, drops charges against Wagner

Following an agreement between the two sides, the mercenaries handed over their weapons to the Kremlin. Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is believed to be in exile in Belarus.

Russian authorities announced the closure of the criminal case against members of the Wagner Group after they revolted against Vladimir Putin's regime Saturday. They were accused of armed rebellion against the Kremlin.

"The criminal case instituted for the Wagner Group's armed rebellion has been closed," the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement. "It has been determined that its participants ceased activities directly aimed at committing the crime." Each of the mercenaries faced a prison sentence of between 12 and 20 years if they continued to be prosecuted. The motive that led the paramilitary group to act against Moscow was the Russian Army's attack on one of their camps and to prevent the group from being eliminated.

This Tuesday, in a speech to security forces, the Russian president assured that their work prevented an internal conflict that could have been devastating for the nation's interests. "You protected the constitutional order, life, security and freedom of our citizens, saved our country from upheavals, stopped a civil war," Putin said.

Delivery of arms to the Kremlin

Only 24 hours after the beginning of the rebellion, the Wagner Group reached an agreement with the Russian regime to surrender its weapons. The pact was brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a loyal ally of Vladimir Putin.

"Preparations are underway for the transfer of heavy military equipment from the Wagner private military company to active units of the Russian Armed Forces" said Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who is in charge of directing and coordinating the arms delivery operation.

Where is Prigozhin?

As part of the agreement between the two sides, Vladimir Putin offered to integrate all but one member of the Wagner Group into the Russian Army, knowing the military capacity and effectiveness of the mercenaries. In the event of refusal, they would be forced to withdraw and leave the country.

That one exclusion is the group's leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was granted the opportunity to leave Russian territory and go into exile in the neighboring country of Belarus. In principle, the mercenary leader's whereabouts are unknown, although it is believed that a plane that Prigozhin was on has already landed in Minsk, capital of Belarus.