Rogue Mercenary Group Retreats: Threat to Putin’s Power Neutralized

In a surprising turn of events, heavily armed Russian mercenaries from the notorious Wagner group have pulled out of the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, effectively halting their advance towards Moscow.

Moscow mutiny

The move comes as part of a deal mediated by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, which guarantees the safety of the fighters and their leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in exchange for their return to their base and Prigozhin’s relocation to Belarus.

The withdrawal of the Wagner group, a private mercenary organization led by Prigozhin, marks the end of a potentially catastrophic challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s authority.

Vladimir Putin

Prigozhin, a former ally of Putin, cited corruption and incompetence among Russian commanders as the motive behind his decision to advance on Moscow. The group had gained control of the military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, a city located over 660 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of the capital.

Putin, in a televised address to the nation, denounced the armed uprising as a “betrayal” and an act of “treason,” vowing to punish those responsible. However, in a strategic move to prevent bloodshed and internal confrontation with uncertain consequences, Putin allowed Prigozhin and his forces to leave without facing immediate repercussions.

The decision to defuse the situation and avoid further escalation was driven by Putin’s “highest goal” of maintaining stability and preventing potential chaos within Russia, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.


The withdrawal of the Wagner group brings an end to an unprecedented challenge to Putin’s authority, albeit with lingering questions surrounding the underlying grievances expressed by Prigozhin and his fighters.

The Wagner group gained notoriety for its involvement in the bloodiest battles of the 16-month war in Ukraine. Prigozhin’s private army, known for its ruthless tactics, has been a subject of international scrutiny and sanctions due to its role in various conflicts.

As the mercenaries depart from Rostov-on-Don, the situation remains tense but relatively peaceful. The withdrawal has averted a potentially violent confrontation between the Russian military and the Wagner group, offering a temporary respite in the ongoing power struggle within the country.

The repercussions of this unprecedented event are yet to be fully understood, as both domestic and international observers closely monitor the aftermath of the mercenary group’s withdrawal. The question now arises as to how President Putin will address the underlying issues raised by Prigozhin and whether further actions will be taken to address concerns of corruption and incompetence among Russian commanders.