The charge of mounting an armed mutiny has a punishment of upto 20 years
Wagner group forces wave Russian and Warner flags atop a damaged building in Bakhmut, Ukraine. Pic/AP
Russian authorities said on Tuesday they have closed a criminal investigation into the armed rebellion led by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, with no charges against him or any of the other participants. The Federal Security Service (FSB), said its investigation found that those involved in the mutiny “ceased activities directed at committing the crime” so the case would not be pursued.
The announcement was the latest twist in a series of stunning events in recent days that have brought the gravest threat so far to President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power amid the 16-month-old war in Ukraine. Over the weekend, the Kremlin pledged not to prosecute Prigozhin and his fighters after he stopped the revolt on Saturday, even though Putin had branded them as traitors.
The charge of mounting an armed mutiny carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. Prigozhin escaping prosecution poses a stark contrast to how the Kremlin has treated those staging anti-government protests in Russia. Meanwhile, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed on Tuesday that the Wagner chief arrived in Belarus after the aborted revolt in Russia.
Villagers terrified of Wagner troops returning home
When Ivan Rossomakhin returned home from the war in Ukraine three months ago, his neighbors in the village east of Moscow were terrified. Three years ago, he was convicted of murder and sentenced to a long prison term but was freed after volunteering to fight with the Wagner private military contractor. Despite police promises to keep an eye on the 28-year-old former inmate, he was arrested in a nearby town on charges of stabbing to death an elderly woman from whom he once rented a room. There are at least seven other instances related to Wagner-group recruits.
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