The location of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, was finally discovered on Tuesday in the aftermath of his group’s attempted rebellion. An aircraft associated with Prigozhin was reported to have arrived in Belarus from Russia according to the flight tracking portal Flightradar24. An Embraer Legacy 600 jet, identified via codes corroborated with U.S. sanctions documents linking it to Prigozhin, was observed landing altitude in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. Prior to this, the aircraft’s first recorded location on the tracking site was above Rostov, the southern Russian city secured by Prigozhin’s forces last Saturday.
Speculation suggests that the jet was conveying Prigozhin to Belarus as part of his self-imposed exile following a Kremlin-brokered agreement. Under this agreement, Prigozhin would relocate to Belarus, and in return, his forces would be exempt from prosecution. Concurrently, Russian authorities declared there would not be a criminal investigation into the alleged mutiny by the Wagner Group, with no legal charges laid against any of the participants.
Russian president Vladimir Putin addresses the country on Monday night in which he condemned the mutiny but he did not mention any specific names. He said any of the Wagner fighters would have three options; leave for Belarus, join the Russian military or go home. This course of action is a far cry from how Russia has treated traitors and anti-government protestors in the past. Often times these types of offenses are met with lengthy prison times
According to Fox, Putin also said in his Monday address:
Putin confirmed on Monday that Russian pilots had been killed fighting Wagner mercenaries and thanked Russians for remaining united during the crisis.
He said Russia’s enemies wanted to see the country “choke in bloody civil strife,” but Russia would not succumb to “any blackmail, any attempt to create internal turmoil,” according to Reuters.
Following a Kremlin-brokered agreement that will reportedly see his forces avoid prosecution, Prigozhin appears to have landed in Belarus. While Russian authorities have indicated no plans for a criminal investigation into the alleged mutiny, the situation highlights a marked departure from the country’s traditional approach to anti-government actions.