March to Moscow: Wagner Group Attempts Russian Takeover
A mercenary army of 25,000 Wagner Group soldiers began “a march of justice” toward Moscow on Saturday morning in an uprising that lasted less than 24 hours. After alleging that the Russian Army had attacked their forces inside Ukraine, Wagner mercenaries crossed the Ukraine border at 2 a.m. and claimed military sites in Rostov, a southern Russian city that is the logistical hub for the entire Russian military effort in Ukraine. Later that day, the forces backed down.
What incited the march? Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed on Friday that the Russian Army killed over 50 of his men in an air strike at a military training camp in Bakhmut, a Ukrainian city that Russia seized last month.
His evidence of the attack is an unverified video posted on encrypted messaging service Telegram that shows a small burning forest, trees that appear to have been damaged by force, and a dead body.
In a message on Telegram, Prigozhin announced the march to Moscow:
The evil brought by the military leadership of the country must be stopped. They neglect the lives of soldiers. They forgot the word “justice” and we will bring it back. Those who destroyed today our guys, who destroyed tens, tens of thousands of lives of Russian soldiers, will be punished.
Russia said the allegations were false. It responded by tightening security, spokesman Dmitry Peskov reported, and opened a criminal case against Prigozhin for armed mutiny. Prigozhin denied claims that his actions were a “military coup.”
Prigozhin and Putin’s relationship: Prigozhin, who has shared a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin since the 1990s, has previously been careful not to speak out against the president. This changed over the weekend.
Prigozhin revealed in a video on Friday that Russia was not upfront about its claimed motives for invading Ukraine: demilitarize and denazify the nation. He said the invasion was for territorial gain and the personal advancement of corrupt Russian elites, specifically naming Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Prigozhin has complained for months about the poor battle plans of Russian generals and their failure to provide his forces with enough ammunition.
Regardless of who Prigozhin took issue with, Putin condemned him for his “terrorist actions,” stating:
What we’re facing is exactly internal betrayal. Extraordinary ambitions and personal interests led to treason. … [A]ny internal mutiny is a deadly threat to our state …. And our actions to defend the fatherland from such a threat will be brutal.
In an audio message, Prigozhin said that “the president is deeply mistaken” about the betrayal and that he and his men are patriots of Russia.
Backing down: Military heads urged Prigozhin to back down to maintain internal stability, so infighting wouldn’t give Ukraine an upper hand.
According to the Associated Press, Prigozhin ordered his forces to halt on Saturday afternoon, just 125 miles short of Moscow, to “avoid shedding Russian blood.”
As part of a deal brokered by Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, Prigozhin will move to Belarus, the charges against him will be dropped, and his soldiers granted immunity. It is unclear if any military leadership changes will take place or if any other concessions were made.
Ezekiel 38 contains an end-time prophecy about a fierce Russian leader who will amass a 200 million-man army (Revelation 9:16; 16:12).
In his booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia,’ Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes:
When you study these scriptures alongside current events revealing modern Moscow’s imperialist direction, you see that Russian President Vladimir Putin is the prince of Rosh.
This is a bold claim, but you can prove it from your Bible. To do so, request a free copy of The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’