(NewsNation) — After leading his troops on a rebellious march on Moscow before abruptly turning around, charges against Yevgeny Prigozhin, Russian commander of the Wagner Group, have been dropped and Russia says he will be moved to Belarus.
A former ambassador to Ukraine says Prigozhin is unlikely to get out of this situation alive.
“He [Putin] could certainly get rid of opposition in some way or another. He’s done this with other oligarchs. And let’s be clear, that it’s a bunch of Mafia oligarchs that are surrounding Putin, and he can get rid of them if he wants to,” said William Taylor.
Taylor served as the ambassador to Ukraine under President Bush and President Obama. He joined “NewsNation Prime” to discuss how the march on Moscow could impact the war in Ukraine.
“They’ve revealed that Putin is weak. They’ve revealed that there is a crack, there are many cracks in the command control of the Russian military. And that has real implications for what the Russian military can do in Ukraine,” Taylor said. “The Ukrainians, who have been preparing this counter-offensive, it’s ready. What we’ve seen today is the Russian military is not up to this.”
Under the deal announced by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Prigozhin will go to neighboring Belarus and charges of mounting an armed rebellion will be dropped. The government said it also would not prosecute fighters who took part, while those who did not join in were to be offered contracts by the Defense Ministry.
Putin had vowed earlier to punish those behind the armed uprising led by his onetime protege, whose forces seized a key military facility in southern Russia before advancing on the capital. In a televised speech to the nation, Putin called the rebellion a “betrayal” and “treason.”
In allowing Prigozhin and his forces to go free, Peskov said Putin’s “highest goal” was “to avoid bloodshed and internal confrontation with unpredictable results.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.