Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC), issued a statement nearly two days after the withdrawal from Rostov. He claimed that the purpose of their campaign was “to prevent the annihilation of the Wagner PMC and hold accountable all persons who, through their unprofessional actions, made a huge number of mistakes during the 'SMO'.”.
According to Prigozhin, the Wagner PMC was supposed to disarm on June 30, but their fighters came under attack, resulting in the loss of approximately 30 lives.
“We did not want to shed Russian blood. We set out to expressour protest, not overthrow the government in the country,”Prigozhin said.
Prigozhin said that local residents greeted the Wagner PMC with enthusiasm as they hoped they would solve various issues, including corruption.
He stressed that no one on the ground was harmed by their actions.
Earlier reports, however, indicated that the Russian army suffered casualties ranging from four to 20 people due to the military uprising. Furthermore, it was confirmed that Wagner PMC mercenaries destroyed at least two combat helicopters and one aircraft.
The Telegram channel Baza reported that the first helicopter was shot down around 5am on June 24 during a clash near the village of Elizavetovka in the Voronezh region. All crew members survived. The second helicopter crashed five hours later near the village of Filonovo.
In addition, on the morning of June 24, Wagner PMC members fired a missile at an Il-22 aircraft, which crashed near the village of Kantemirovka. Preliminary information suggests that four people lost their lives as a result of the crash.
Irina Kuksenkova, a war correspondent for Russian TV's Channel One, claimed that there were 10 people on board the downed aircraft.
“When asked why [they shot down the Il-22], considering that this aircraft does not attack but performs other functions, Prigozhin said, 'Well, the idiot AD [air defense] officer who was part of the convoy was shooting down everything that was flying,'“ she reported.
According to the propagandist, having said these words, the head of the Wagner PMC agreed to pay 50 million rubles ($54,600) in compensation to the families of the deceased pilots.
Furthermore, on the evening of June 24, it was reported that a Ka-52 “Alligator” helicopter was shot down in the vicinity of the village of Komintern in the Voronezh region, resulting in the deaths of two pilots.
Kommersant previously reported that the criminal case regarding the organization of an armed uprising, in which Prigozhin is the main figure, has not been closed and continues to be investigated by the investigative directorate of the Russian FSB.
In the night of June 24, Prigozhin, along with his mercenaries, seized several military facilities in Rostov-on-Don and Voronezh. Despite facing charges, he stated that he has no intention of turning himself in at the command of Putin, the FSB, or “anyone else.”
However, in the evening of June 24, the press service of Alexander Lukashenko announced that the founder of the Wagner PMC agreed to halt the troops after negotiations with Lukashenko. Prigozhin himself did not comment on the negotiations. Lukashenko also did not comment on his personal conversation with the founder of the PMC. Videos started emerging in the evening of June 24 showing Wagner PMC fighters leaving Rostov-on-Don.