The Wagner group is a private military company (PMC), described as the private army of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch and former ally of President Vladimir Putin. Wagner PMC may be the first serious threat to Putin in the last 22 years.
On June 23, Yevgeny Prigozin first aired his negative opinions on the actions of Russia in a series of videos and Telegram messages, causing Russia to open a criminal investigation on the oligarch.
A day later, Russian mercenaries for
the Wagner group took control of Rostov-on-Don, one of Russia’s most significant cities, after Prigozhin stated that his men were ready to go “all the way” against the Russian military. This caused Putin to respond aggressively, saying he would crush the “armed mutiny” and accusing Prigozhin of treason.
This takeover was followed swiftly by an offensive attack towards Moscow, causing a Russian helicopter to open fire on a convoy of mercenaries already halfway there. This defence by the Russian army caused Prigozhin to command all of his troops to retreat in an attempt to avoid bloodshed, also vacating Rostov.
Prigozhin managed to make a deal with the Belarusian President, where he would be allowed to live in Belarus without any charges being brought against him. These events could be a warning sign to the Russian forces, as revolts like this could become more common as the war between Russia and Ukraine continues.