Prigozhin’s Wagner Group Suspends Further Recruitment
Soon after Yevgeny Prigozhin fled to Belarus following a failed armed mutiny, his Wagner mercenary group announced a moratorium on fresh military recruiting.
"Due to the temporary non-participation of PMC Wagner in a [Russian] special military operation [in Ukraine] and moving to the Republic of Belarus, we are temporarily suspending the work of regional recruitment centers for one month," the infamous mercenary group announced Sunday via its Telegram channel.
On June 23, Prigozhin vowed to turn against Moscow, claiming that the Russian military had attacked his forces and that the Russian military leadership's actions during the war in Ukraine were generally wrong.
His mercenaries marched from Rostov-on-Don, in southern Russia, where they allegedly took control of military stations, to Voronezh, around 200 kilometers from Moscow, prompting the Russian capital to impose strict anti-terrorist measures.
Prigozhin’s unexpected turn against the Kremlin prompted Moscow to demand his arrest. The Federal Security Service (FSB) initiated a criminal investigation against him, accusing him of armed mutiny against the state, a charge that could land him in prison for up to 20 years.
However, a deal was brokered by both Putin's and Prigozhin's friend, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, two days after the mutiny, and Prigozhin's private jet safely landed in the Belarus capital, Minsk, on June 27.
Following the deal with his former closest friend Prigozhin, Putin addressed the nation stressing that "efforts were taken from the start of the events to avert widespread bloodshed," in accordance with his instructions.
He also offered those who choose to remain in the country the option of "continuing to serve Russia by signing a contract with the Ministry of Defense or other law enforcement agencies or returning to their families and friends."
The deadline for changing sides – leaving Wagner and joining the Russian Army – was Saturday, July 1, a day before Prigozhin called off further recruitments for his Wagner Group.