Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin on Monday released the first audio statement since an aborted armed rebellion he staged on Saturday, defending the move as a reaction to an attack on his force that killed some of his 30 fighters.
“We started our march because of an injustice,” Prigozhin said in an 11-minute audio. He didn’t offer any details as to where he was or what his future plans are.
Wagner troops have played a crucial role in the Ukraine war, capturing the eastern city of Bakhmut, an area where the bloodiest and longest battles have taken place. But Prigozhin has increasingly criticized the military brass, accusing it of incompetence and of starving his troops of munitions.
The feud that has festered throughout the war erupted into a mutiny that saw the mercenaries leave Ukraine to seize a military headquarters in a southern Russian city and roll seemingly unopposed for hundreds of miles toward Moscow, before turning around after less than 24 hours on Saturday.
The Kremlin said it had made a deal that Prigozhin will move to Belarus and receive an amnesty, along with his soldiers. There was no confirmation of his whereabouts Monday, although a popular Russian news channel on Telegram reported he was seen at a hotel in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.