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Timeline: What Led to the Standoff Between Russia and Prigozhin


For years, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the Wagner mercenary leader who performed a quick rise up towards the Russian navy, had been a loyal supporter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

As his mercenaries fought for Russia within the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, he continued to avoid straight criticizing Mr. Putin, whilst he more and more used social media to lambaste Russia’s navy, accusing its leaders of treason and blaming them for failing to supply his forces with sufficient sources.

However tensions reached a head in June when he led a short-lived mutiny towards Russia’s high navy management — throwing the way forward for Mr. Prigozhin and his fighters into query.

Right here’s a take a look at Mr. Prigozhin’s historical past:

December 2016

The United States imposed sanctions towards 15 Russian entities, together with Mr. Prigozhin, for his or her dealings in Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, and in Ukraine, the place Russian-backed separatists seized territory the identical yr. The Treasury Division focused businesspeople who have been associates of Mr. Putin or have been concerned in actions that aided in Russia’s destabilization of Ukraine.

February 2018

Mr. Prigozhin was one of 13 Russians indicted by a federal grand jury in the USA for interfering within the 2016 presidential election by the Web Analysis Company, a troll manufacturing unit that unfold falsehoods and waged data warfare in help of the marketing campaign of Donald J. Trump.

September 2022

Mr. Prigozhin publicly acknowledged for the primary time that he was the founding father of the Wagner mercenary group, whose fighters have been deployed alongside Russian troops in Ukraine. Beforehand, Wagner fighters had operated in help of the Kremlin’s navy campaigns in Africa and the Center East, often battling towards U.S. forces.

October 2022

Mr. Prigozhin was one in every of two highly effective supporters of Mr. Putin to publicly turn on Russia’s military leadership after it ordered a retreat from Lyman, a city in eastern Ukraine, emphasizing that pulling again was a significant embarrassment for the Kremlin.

November 2022

Only a day earlier than the U.S. midterms, Mr. Prigozhin sardonically boasted that Russia was interfering in the election.

“Gents, we now have interfered, we do intrude and we are going to intrude,” Mr. Prigozhin mentioned in an announcement posted by his catering firm. “We are going to do it fastidiously, exactly, surgically as we’re able to doing it. Throughout our focused operations, we are going to take away each kidneys and liver directly.”

On the time, Wagner troops have been advancing on the jap Ukrainian metropolis of Bakhmut, which had been below Russian assault for months.

February 2023

Mr. Prigozhin accused two Russian military leaders of treason in a collection of hostile audio messages. He claimed that the Russian protection minister, Sergei Ok. Shoigu, and its most senior common, Valery V. Gerasimov, have been withholding ammunition and provides from his fighters to attempt to destroy Wagner.

Earlier within the month, Mr. Prigozhin had mentioned that Wagner would no longer recruit fighters from Russian prisons, a follow that had raised criticism from human rights teams however helped gas Moscow’s advances in jap Ukraine.

Could 2023

Mr. Prigozhin issued a collection of inflammatory statements. He as soon as once more accused Russia’s navy forms of ravenous Wagner forces of needed ammunition and threatened to withdraw them from Bakhmut. Days later, he appeared to backtrack on that risk after saying he had been promised extra arms.

In late Could, Wagner forces said they had captured Bakhmut, a declare it had made beforehand as properly. Ukrainian officers rapidly denied the declare, however days later acknowledged the loss of the city. Russian state media kept Mr. Prigozhin’s name out of its protection of these occasions.

Earlier within the month, Mr. Prigozhin dismissed a report from The Washington Submit saying that leaked intelligence confirmed he had provided to share Russian Military positions with Ukraine.

June 2023

Tensions between Mr. Prigozhin and Russia’s navy rose greater in early June. Mr. Prigozhin mentioned Wagner would not comply with an order that might require it to signal a proper contract with Russia’s protection ministry by July.

The feud rapidly escalated later that month, when Mr. Prigozhin launched a 30-minute video during which he described his nation’s invasion of Ukraine as a “racket” perpetrated by a corrupt elite chasing cash and glory with out concern for Russian lives. He additionally challenged the Kremlin’s declare that Kyiv had been on the verge of attacking Russian-backed separatist territory in Ukraine’s east when Russia invaded.

“The warfare wasn’t wanted to return Russian residents to our bosom, nor to demilitarize or denazify Ukraine,” Mr. Prigozhin mentioned, referring to Mr. Putin’s preliminary justifications for the warfare. “The warfare was wanted so {that a} bunch of animals may merely exult in glory.”

Mr. Prigozhin additionally accused Mr. Shoigu, the Russian minister of protection, of orchestrating a lethal assault with missiles and helicopters on camps to the rear of the Russian traces in Ukraine, the place his troopers have been bivouacked.

The Russian protection ministry denied the allegations, saying in an announcement that the messages Mr. Prigozhin had posted about supposed strikes on Wagner camps “don’t correspond to actuality.” His account of the assaults stays unconfirmed.

On June 23, Mr. Putin mobilized Russian troops to defend Moscow from what he known as an armed rebellion by Mr. Prigozhin, whose forces had claimed management of Rostov-on-Don and have been seen transferring north alongside a freeway towards the Russian capital. Then, in a shock flip of occasions, the Belarusian president, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, mentioned he had secured Mr. Prigozhin’s settlement to halt his forces’ advance. Mr. Prigozhin confirmed that he was turning his forces round.

The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, mentioned that Mr. Prigozhin would flee to Belarus, and that Russia’s navy operations in Ukraine would proceed unchanged.

July 2023

Amid swirling questions over Mr. Prigozhin’s whereabouts, unverified photographs circulated on social media suggesting that the Wagner chief was assembly with African officers in St. Petersburg, the place a number of the continent’s high leaders had converged for a summit with Mr. Putin. A number of days later, a recording circulated with a voice that gave the impression to be his saying that Wagner had paused recruiting whereas determining its “subsequent duties.”

August 2023

Mr. Prigozhin was seen in an unverified video message posted Monday night on Telegram channels affiliated together with his Wagner forces, showing to recruit for the group’s operations in Africa.

On Wednesday, the Russian aviation authorities mentioned that he was listed as a passenger on a airplane that crashed and killed all 10 folks aboard.

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