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Rostov-on-Don/Voronezh, Russia (fdmutiny25) – Rebel Russian mercenary warriors who swept most of the way to Moscow have agreed to turn back to avoid bloodshed, the leader said Saturday. bottom. A major challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power.

Combatants of the Wagner Private Army, commanded by former Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, were already making most of the way to the capital. He captured the city of Rostov and set off on a 1,100 km race to Moscow.

In an audio message, Prigozin said the fighters would return to base due to the risk of bloodshed.

A deal to halt further movement of Wagner fighters across Russia in exchange for guaranteeing the security of the rebels was brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, his office said.

Prigozhin earlier said his men were conducting a “march for justice” to remove corrupt and incompetent Russian military commanders whom he accused of foiling the Ukraine war.

Putin said in a televised speech from the Kremlin that Russia’s very existence was under threat.

“We are fighting for the life and security of our people, for our sovereignty and independence, and for the right to remain Russia, a thousand-year-old nation,” he said.

“Anyone who deliberately treads the path of treachery, who prepares for armed insurrection, who resorts to threats or terrorism will all be subject to inevitable punishment and will be subject to both the law and the people. .”

Putin has since signed a law tightening rules for violating martial law in areas under martial law, according to the RIA news agency. Rebel Russian mercenaries will retreat to avoid bloodshed, leader says

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