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Criminal Investigation Into Prigozhin And Soldiers Who Mounted Rebellion Dropped

  Russian investigators have formally closed a criminal investigation into mercenary soldier   Yevgeny Prigozhin   and his Wagner Group forc...

 Russian investigators have formally closed a criminal investigation into mercenary soldier Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner Group forces after they seized a Russian military headquarters and moved toward Moscow last week in a challenge to President Vladimir Putin

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) announced on Tuesday that since Prigozhin and his men had “ceased activities directed at committing the crime,” the criminal investigation into them would not be moving forward. 

“Taking into account this and other circumstances relevant to the investigation, on June 27, 2023, the investigating authority issued a decision to close the criminal case,” the FSB statement continued

The Kremlin had previously indicated that the charges would be dropped, but the criminal case was not formally closed until Tuesday. 

The news comes after Putin initially promised punitive actions against those who challenged his authority by questioning the war in Ukraine and occupying a key Russian military headquarters. 

“All those who prepared the rebellion will suffer inevitable punishment,” Putin said amid the ongoing unrest. “The armed forces and other government agencies have received the necessary orders.”

On Friday and into Saturday, Prigozhin moved his forces from Ukraine into the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, where they took over a Russian military headquarters. They then started marching toward Moscow before stopping on Saturday. 

After a settlement was negotiated between Prigozhin and Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko, Putin appeared to take a more conciliatory approach toward the dissatisfied mercenaries. 

“They were used without their knowledge, against their brothers-in-arms they used to fight together with to ensure our country’s future,” Putin said. “This is why, from the very beginning, I made direct orders to take steps to prevent any major bloodshed. This required time. Time to give a chance to those making a mistake to change their minds. To realize that their actions are totally rejected by the people.”


If convicted of organizing a mutiny, Prigozhin could have faced 20 years in prison. He may still be exiled from Russia and sent to Belarus. He had accused Russian forces of killing up to 2,000 of his men in a bombing attack. 

On Monday, Prigozhin said that the rebellion was meant as a protest. “We stopped at that moment when it became clear that much blood would be spilled,” he said. “That’s why we believe that the demonstration of what we were planning to do was enough. Our decision to turn back had two factors: we didn’t want to spill Russian blood. Secondly, we marched as a demonstration of our protest.”

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