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ISW: Prigozhin, Putin may still be negotiating

by Rachel Amran June 29, 2023 7:23 AM 2 min read
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Recent reports suggest that parties involved in the deal to end the Wagner Group's brief rebellion, including Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, may still be negotiating specifics of the deal, the Institute of the Study of War reported on June 28.

An independent Belarusian monitoring group called the Hayun Project cited flight tracking data from June 27 that could suggest Yevgeny Prigozhin's plane left the Machulishchy airfield and flew to Moscow before immediately flying to St. Petersburg.

Previous reports indicated that Prigozhin initially tried to get in contact with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin as the Wagner column made its way north from Rostov, but Putin refused to speak with him.

Pro-Russian social media channels claimed that Prigozhin returned to Russia to negotiate with Russian officials and Wagner Commander's Council. The ISW was unable to confirm whether Prigozhin did in fact fly to Russia, but it is likely that he returned to work out details of the deal mediated by Lukashenko.  

Additionally, other pro-Russian sources are speculating that the failed rebellion is already having "widespread impacts on the Russian command structure," the ISW wrote.

Russian authorities arrested Army General Sergei Surovikin on June 28. According to the ISW, this move could suggest that the Kremlin intends to purge the Russian Defense Ministry of any disloyalty within its ranks.

Earlier that day, media outlets, including CNN and the New York Times, reported that the Russian security services possibly knew about Wagner rebellion in advance.

Putin claims Wagner militants were fully funded by state
The state fully financed Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 27. Putin said the mercenary outfit allegedly received over 86 billion rubles ($1 billion) from the state’s budget between May 2022 and May 2023.
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