Prigozhin’s Mutiny by the Hour

July 26, 2023
Mikael Pir-Budagyan and RM Staff

Although Yevgeny Prigozhin’s mutiny was short-lived, the conflict between PMC Wagner and the Russian Ministry of Defense had been brewing for years. It culminated on June 23 when Prigozhin’s fighters launched a “march for justice,” crossing into Russia from Ukraine and heading toward Moscow. On their way to the Russian capital, the Wagnerites captured key facilities in the city of Rostov-on-Don, including the headquarters of the Southern Military District. Some of Wagner’s personnel reached Kolomna (about 120 km south of Moscow) on June 24 before their boss reached a deal with the Kremlin to abandon the march and redeploy his fighters to Belarus. Russia Matters has put together a timeline of the real-time daily developments throughout June 2023, including reactions to the mutiny, which has posed the greatest security threat to Vladimir Putin’s Russia since the second Russian-Chechen war. Italicized text is RM commentary.

June 1

  • 2:43 a.m. Moscow Standard Time (all times are in this time zone) The head of the Chechen branch of Russia’s National Guard Adam Delimkhanov releases an address to PMC Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, accusing him of “screaming publicly about problems.” (Adam Delimkhanov/Telegram, 06.01.23)
  • 9:28 a.m. Prigozhin and a portion of his Wagner forces begins moving away from the combat line in Bakhmut. The remaining personnel were to follow on June 5, Prigozhin said. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.01.23)
  • 5:43 p.m. Prigozhin states that high-rank Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) officials should face capital punishment for mistakes made during the war. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.01.23)
  • 7:12 p.m. Telegram channel “Razgruzka Vagnera,” associated with Wagner commanding staff, releases PMC’s chief military commander Dmitry Utkin’s (aka Wagner's) response to Delimkhanov, claiming no panic in Wagner and agreeing with Prigozhin’s push for capital punishment for the “embarrassment” some citizens (presumably the MoD officials) caused. Utkin also claimed Wagner solved its problems in line with Russian law but called Delimkhanov out to talk “man to man.” (“Razgruzka Vagnera”/Telegram, 06.01.23)
  • 7:59 p.m. “Razgruzka Vagnera” publishes other Wagner commanders’ commentary condemning Delimkhanov’s accusations. (“Razgruzka Vagnera”/Telegram, 06.01.23)

June 2

  • 7:22 p.m. Prigozhin claims the MoD mined Wagner’s path to regrouping and training camps away from the frontline. These accusations are shared on Russian social media platforms. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.02.23)

June 3

  • 12:20 p.m. Prigozhin claims to have settled the conflict with Delimkhanov after a call with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and claims that the feud had been designed by one of the “Kremlin’s towers.” He also doubles down on criticizing the MoD and Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu for “shell shortages,” “losing lands and inactivity” and “chaos.” Prigozhin proceeds to threaten that if the MoD fails to act, Wagner will protect the region itself. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.03.23)
  • 5:08 p.m. Prigozhin claims Wagner protects the Russian military’s interests but calls the MoD authorities’ actions and unaccountability “criminal.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.03.23)
  • 5:43 p.m. Prigozhin calls for punishment of people “responsible for giving away” Russian territory. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.03.23) 
  • 7:01 p.m. Prigozhin calls out Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov and Gen. Alexander Lapin for “concealing” the number of victims and lying to the Russian people. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.03.23) The accusations are directed at specific individuals in the ministry with little reference to Putin.

June 4

  • 6:03 p.m. Prigozhin accuses Shoigu, Lapin and Gerasimov of “not having the balls … to take back Russian PoWs.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.04.23)
  • 11:28 p.m. Prigozhin’s press Telegram channel releases a video with a captured Russian lieutenant colonel admitting to ordering his soldiers to shoot at Wagner forces. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.04.23) The circumstances of the capture and the recording are unclear. However, the decision to publicly humiliate the MoD officials escalates the conflict between Wagner and the ministry.

June 5

  • 12:00 p.m. Prigozhin calls for Shoigu and Gerasimov to go to the frontline and lead the troops into an offensive with pistols in their hands. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.05.23)
  • 11:48 p.m. Prigozhin’s press Telegram channel reposts his interview, where he accuses the MoD of unaccountability and calls for capital punishment for the “embarrassment” during the war. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.05.23)

June 6

  • 12:46 a.m. Prigozhin accuses the MoD of lying about Ukrainian losses. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.06.23)
  • 3:43 p.m. Prigozhin again accuses the MoD of mining Wagner’s path to the rear of the front. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.06.23)
  • 8:54 p.m. Prigozhin ridicules the MoD’s claims of destroying Leopard tanks that turned out to be agricultural equipment. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.06.23)

June 7

  • 11:27 a.m. Pro-war Russian Telegram channel “Dva Mayora” argues that Prigozhin’s figure and approach are more relatable than the MoD’s because his speech is “unbureaucratic.” (Dva Mayora/Telegram, 06.07.23) This echoes several pro-war Telegram channels’ public approval of Prigozhin and staunch criticism of MoD officials.

June 9

  • 4:26 p.m. Prigozhin claims he has no political ambitions in Russia but an ambition to see the country as a world superpower. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.09.23)
  • 5:57 p.m. Prigozhin calls “bureaucrats” a unified “clan” that “seeks to destroy our homeland.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.09.23) This time he goes beyond the usual MoD officials in calling out Russian oligarchs and decision-makers.
    June 10
  • 2:00 p.m. The MoD releases a statement announcing that by July 1 all volunteer formations must sign contracts with the ministry. (Mil.ru, 06.10.23) This, in part, appears to be an attempt to limit Prigozhin’s influence and capacity to escalate.

June 11

  • 1:37 p.m. Prigozhin refuses to have Wagner sign contracts with the MoD, claiming that his PMC does not follow Shoigu’s orders but still acts in the interests of Russia and Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.11.23)
  • 8:42 p.m. Prigozhin shares Wagner commanders’ opinions about incorporating the PMC into the MoD, calling Shoigu a liar and referring to his alleged incompetence. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.11.23)

June 13

  • 10:39 a.m. Prigozhin accuses the MoD of envying Wagner’s successes and personally calls out Shoigu for his “inability to handle people who do things better than him.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.13.23)
  • 11:23 a.m. Putin publicly supports the MoD’s decision to force volunteer battalions and mercenary companies to sign contracts with the ministry. (TASS, 06.13.23) Explicit support from the president for the MoD raises the risks of future Prigozhin’s disobedience.
  • 12:55 p.m. Prigozhin states that “a war with an adversary is not so frightening as a war with traitors,” referring to “bureaucrats.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.13.23)
  • 9:33 p.m. Telegram channel “Soldier of Fortune” releases a video of Prigozhin evaluating the Ukrainian counteroffensive and announcing Wagner’s return to the frontline on Aug. 5. (Soldier of Fortune/Telegram, 06.13.23)

June 14

  • 12:19 p.m. Prigozhin states his hopes for a compromise without signing contracts with the MoD and refers to it as an “important state body, but if a group of individuals paralyzes it, it does not mean we have to take part.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.14.23)

June 16

  • 3:34 p.m. “Razgruzka Vagnera” posts a video where Prigozhin attempts to deliver documents alleged to be signed MoD contracts with no success. (“Razgruzka Vagnera”/Telegram, 06.16.23)
  • 8:25 p.m. Pirgozhin calls the St. Petersburg International Forum a “feast in the time of plague.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.16.23) He then posts graphic images depicting dead Russian soldiers next to official photographs taken during the forum.

June 20

  • 3:09 p.m. Prigozhin claims most soldiers in Wagner received no medals because the MoD withholds them. He claims “parquet” generals hand out medals to each other while volunteers get nothing. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.20.23)

June 21

  • 4:27 p.m. Prigozhin calls out the MoD for “concealing Ukrainian successes” and of “direct treason.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.21.23)

RM has not yet been able to establish when the following events occurred on June 21:

  • New York Times reports that American intelligence officials briefed senior U.S. military and administration officials on June 21 that Prigozhin was preparing to take military action against senior Russian defense officials. U.S. spy agencies had indications days earlier that Prigozhin was planning something and worked to refine that material into a finished assessment. Intelligence agencies kept silent about Prigozhin’s plans. U.S. officials felt that if they said anything, Putin could accuse them of orchestrating a coup. (NYT, 06.24.23)
    • CNN reports that U.S. intelligence officials were able to gather an extremely detailed and accurate picture of Prigozhin’s plans leading up to his short-lived rebellion, including where and how Wagner was planning to advance, according to sources familiar with the matter. (CNN, 06.26.23)

June 22

  • 9:23 a.m. Prigozhin argues that Putin is being lied to about the developments in the war. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.22.23) Despite referring to Putin, Prigozhin does not accuse him of incompetence and focuses his criticism on the MoD generals.
  • 3:02 p.m. Prigozhin states that the MoD is not interested in winning the war—only in retaining their ranks. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.22.23)
  • 4:37 p.m. Prigozhin calls for “returning justice to the people.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.22.23) This appears to the first time he refers to “justice” in an explicit manner.

June 23

  • 9:10 a.m. Prigozhin argues that the shell shortage is artificial and the MoD stores munitions to defend itself from potential attacks. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.23.23)
  • 10:50 a.m. Prigozhin releases a video accusing the MoD of starting a war to “get medals” and enrich themselves and again accuses Shoigu of cowardice and lying to the president. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.23.23)
  • 3:15 p.m. Prigozhin accuses Shoigu of ordering artillery and attack helicopters on Wagner. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.23.23)
  • 5:10 p.m. Prigozhin confirms he has called for charges against Shoigu and Gerasimov for the “purposeful genocide of the Russian people, killing tens of thousands of Russian citizens and handing out Russian territory to the enemy.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.23.23)
  • 9:25 p.m. Prigozhin announces that Wagner commanders decided to punish people responsible for “Russian deaths”; adds that those resisting will be destroyed, including military personnel. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.23.23)
  • 9:41 p.m. Prigozhin states that Shoigu had fled Rostov-on-Don; calls him a “woman” and a “creature.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.23.23)
  • 9:48 p.m. The MoD refutes Prigozhin’s accusations of Wagner forces being shelled. (Russian Ministry of Defense/Telegram, 06.23.23)
  • 9:49 p.m. Prigozhin states that “we are 25,000 people” going to figure out why there is “lawlessness” in Russia; calls for others to join. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.23.23)
  • 10:29 p.m. Prigozhin denies allegations of a military coup; calls it a “march for justice.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.23.23)
  • 10:39 p.m. Prigozhin states that most of the Russian military supports Wagner and Shoigu had ordered to hide 2,000 bodies of Russian soldiers in Rostov-on-Don. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.23.23)

RM has not yet been able to establish when the following events occurred on June 23:

  • New York Times reports that several major Russian telecommunication companies block access to Google News from Russian IP addresses. (NYT, 06.23.23)

June 24

  • 2:03 a.m. Prigozhin claims the MoD used rockets to attack Wagner’s positions following orders from Gerasimov and Shoigu. He announces that his forces entered Russian territory and would destroy anyone who resists and would go “until the end.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.23)
  • 2:13 a.m. The MoD releases a video where Gen. Sergey Surovikin, Commander-in-Chief of the Aerospace Forces and deputy commander of Russia’s “special military operation,” calls the Wagner forces to stop, obey the orders of the president and settle disputes peacefully. Deputy head of the Russian general staff’s intelligence branch, Gen. Vladimir Alekseyev, also recorded a video, urging Wagner fighters to stop and calling their actions “a stab in the back.” (Russian Ministry of Defense/Telegram, 06.24.23, RBC, 06.24.23)
  • 2:29 a.m. Prigozhin claims Gerasimov ordered to strike Wagner columns despite their physical proximity to the civilian population; claims Russian pilots refused to follow orders. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.23)
  • 2:34 a.m. CNN quotes U.S. National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge: “We are monitoring the situation and will be consulting with allies and partners on these developments.” (CNN, 06.24.23)
  • 3:20 a.m. Prigozhin refutes accusations of undermining war efforts and calls the MoD criminals. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.23)
  • 3:43 a.m. Prigozhin claims Wagner forces shot down an MoD attack helicopter. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.23)
  • 5:13 a.m. Prigozhin claims Wagner forces shot down another helicopter; states all of Wagner's 25,000 personnel are prepared to die, but Wagner will not be destroyed. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.23)
  • 5:15 a.m. Telegram channel “Rostov News” releases photo and video footage of fighters with silver armbands carrying assault rifles surrounding the headquarters of the Southern Military District in Rostov-on-Don. Several tanks and armored vehicles can also be seen. (Rostov News, 06.24.23)
  • 6:59 a.m. Prigozhin claims that half of the Russian army is ready to join his march for justice. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.23)
  • 7:42 a.m. Prigozhin releases a video claiming to have captured military facilities in Rostov-on-Don and claims Gerasimov fled the city. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.23)
  • 9:04 a.m. The MoD calls Wagner forces to halt their advance and return to their original locations in exchange for security guarantees. (Russian Ministry of Defense/Telegram, 06.24.23)
    • Wall Street Journal reports that until June 24, Prigozhin focused his diatribes on Russia’s military leadership, avoiding direct attacks on Putin. But, responding to the Russian president, he said that Wagner’s men are not traitors but real patriots of Russia. Putin, Prigozhin added, is “profoundly mistaken,” and Wagner won’t follow his orders as it pursues the fight against “those who had gathered around scoundrels.” (WSJ, 06.24.23)
  • 10:00 a.m. Putin addresses the nation: “Any internal revolt is a deadly threat to our statehood and our nation. It is a blow to Russia, to our people. Our actions to defend the Fatherland from this threat will be harsh. All those who have consciously chosen the path of betrayal, planned an armed mutiny and taken the path of blackmail and terrorism, will inevitably be punished and will answer before the law and our people.” (Kremlin.ru, 06.24.23)
  • 11:48 a.m. Kadyrov calls the mutiny a “vial betrayal” and a “stab in the back.” He urges Russian armed forces and civil servants not to respond to “provocations” and announces that the MoD and Chechen units of the National Guard have already been dispatched to the “pressure” zone. (Kadyrov/Telegram, 06.24.23)
  • 12:55 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says that “Russia’s weakness is obvious” and portrays the uprising against Moscow, led by Prigozhin, as an example of divine justice. “Everyone who chooses the path of evil destroys himself,” Zelensky says on Twitter. “The longer Russia keeps its troops and mercenaries on our land, the more chaos, pain and problems it will have for itself later.” (Twitter, 06.24.23)
  • 2:36 p.m. Russian-language news outlet Vyorstka reports that Wagner had driven past the city of Lipetsk (about 420 km south of Moscow) and reached Yelets and Yefremov (about 360 km south of Moscow). According to the pro-war Russian telegram channel “Rybar,” however, there are “rumors” that Wagner personnel had been spotted in Kolomna (about 120 km southeast of Moscow).1 (RM, 06.24.23) 
  • 2:40 p.m. Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, says Prigozhin’s uprising was “the most horrible crime” and urged citizens to rally around the president. (Russian History Society, 06.24.23) CIA Director William Burns called Naryshkin after the mutiny to reportedly assure the Kremlin that the United States had no role in it.
  • 2:46 p.m. Prigozhin claims not to have killed anyone on their way to Rostov; says locals support Wagner forces. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.23) 
  • 3:08 p.m. High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell says the bloc has activated its crisis center over the turmoil in Russia. (Twitter, 06.24.23)
  • 3:13 p.m. “This isn’t just a problem for Putin inside Russia—it calls into question whether Russia can withstand Ukraine’s summer offensive. Wagner led some of the small military victories in Ukraine, so this is a chance for Ukraine’s forces to liberate their land further—stay tuned,” Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, says on Twitter. Slotkin says the U.S. should monitor events and be prepared to help where it can. (Twitter, 06.24.23)
  • 3:14 p.m. Pro-war Russian Telegram channel “Voyenkor Kotyonok Z,” posted on June 25 a video of what it claimed was a Russian warplane dropping FAB bombs on a highway along which Wagner vehicles moved along with civilian cars. (“Voyenkor Kotyonok Z,” 06.24.23)
  • 4:00 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. is coordinating closely with its partners as the events in Russia unfold. “Spoke today with G7 Foreign Ministers and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to discuss the ongoing situation in Russia. The United States will stay in close coordination with Allies and partners as the situation continues to develop.” (Twitter, 06.25.23)
  • 4:23 p.m. Telegram channel “Ostorozhno Novosty” reports that Chechen Akhmat forces were spotted on the road to Rostov. (“Ostorozhno Novosty”/Telegram, 06.24.23) 
  • 5:40 p.m. Russia’s foreign ministry warns Western countries not to seek to exploit the uprising by the Wagner mercenary group “to achieve their Russophobic goals.” (Mid.ru, 06.24.23) 
  • 6:58 p.m. Igor Strelkov, ex-head of the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic’s defense ministry, reposts a post by retired Russian colonel and hardliner Viktor Alksnis, putting the number of helicopters and planes shot down by Wagner at six and one respectively. These include, according to the FighterBomber Telegram channel, which is reportedly run by a Russian air force officer, 4 Mi-8s, 1 Ka-52 and 1 Mi-35 (all helicopters) and an Il-18 plane. (“Strelkov Igor Ivanovich #KRP”/Telegram, 06.24.23)
  • 7:25 p.m. Prigozhin says PMC Wagner forces are turning back. Multiple media outlets report that in his talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Prigozhin "accepted" Lukashenko’s offer to stop Wagner’s march and take steps to de-escalate. Kommersant reports, citing Lukashenko’s press service, that an “absolutely advantageous and acceptable option for solving the situation, with security guarantees for Wagner fighters” has been prepared. (Prigozhin’s press service, 06.24.23, RM, 06.24.23)
    • “We are turning our columns around and going back to field camp,” Prigozhin said in an audio post on Telegram on June 24, adding that he did not want to “spill Russian blood,” Prigozhin said.(RFE/RL, 06.24.23)
  • 7:26 p.m. The “Voyenkor Kotyonok Z” channel publishes images of what it said was an MoD Ka-52 gunship shot down by Wagner. The crew died, according to this channel. (“Voyenkor Kotyonok Z”/Telegram, 06.24.23)
  • 7:35 p.m. The “Dva Mayora” channel speculates that Prigozhin had agreed to de-escalate only after receiving “guarantees” that Shoigu and Gerasimov would be removed from their posts. (RM, 06.24.23)
  • 8:07 p.m. A Telegram channel associated with Lukashenko announces that he proposed a deal between Prigozhin and the MoD that both parties accepted (“Pul Pervogo”/Telegram, 06.24.23)
    • Later, a KP reporter provided Lukashenko’s account of how he mediated the resolution of the conflict between Prigozhin and Russian authorities on June 23-24. Lukashenko said it was Putin who initiated a call to him and in the course of that call, the Belarussian leader realized Putin had decided to “whack” Wagner, but Lukashenko sought to convince Putin to put that decision on hold. With Putin’s and the FSB’s help, Lukashenko then got in touch with Prigozhin by phone. During his phone conversation with Prigozhin, Lukashenko told him that “nobody was going to give Shoigu and Gerasimov up to you” and that Putin was not going to meet him. Eventually, in subsequent phone conversations with Lukashenko, Prigozhin dropped the demands to have Shoigu and Gerasimov fired and to meet Putin and agreed to relocate to Belarus, according to Lukashenko’s account. (RM, 06.27.23)
  • 9:25 p.m. “Pul Pervogo” reports that Putin thanked Lukashenko for his role in brokering the deal between Wagner and the MoD. (“Pul Pregovo”/Telegram, 06.24.23)

RM has not yet been able to establish when the following events occurred on June 24:

  • Washington Post reports, citing claims by Ukrainian officials, that Putin was indecisive, with no orders issued “for most of the day.” In addition to Ukrainian officials, CIA Director William Burns has stated that for much of the 36 hours of the mutiny Russian security services, the military and decision-makers “appeared to be adrift.” (WP, 07.25.23)
  • New York Times verifies videos showing that Wagner forces were seen in the town of Yelets, about 250 miles from the capital. (NYT, 06.24.23)
  • Financial Times quotes the Institute for the Study of War: “Wagner likely could have reached the outskirts of Moscow if Prigozhin chose to order them to do so,” adding that the events would “likely substantially damage Putin’s government and the Russian war effort in Ukraine.” (FT, 06.25.23)
  • The Moscow Times and Telegraph report that Russian intelligence agencies threatened to harm the families of Wagner leaders as the group marched on Moscow, citing anonymous U.K. security sources. (MT/AFP, 06.26.23)
  • Reuters reports Ukraine’s head of military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, claimed that Wagner forces sought to capture Russia’s nuclear weapons to significantly “raise the stakes.” Budanov alleged that Wagner forces planned to enter the Voronezh-45 nuclear base and acquire nuclear weapons allegedly stored there. No evidence was provided. U.S. officials and experts could not corroborate the claim. (Reuters, 07.11.23)
  • CNN reports that on June 24, before Prigozhin stood down, there was outreach by the U.S. to Ukrainian officials from allies on several different levels, cautioning them to resist taking advantage of the chaos to strike inside Russia, according to a Western official. The concern was that Ukraine and the West would be seen as helping Prigozhin and threatening Russian sovereignty. (CNN, 06.26.23)
    • U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his staff are monitoring the crisis in Russia and will continue to be briefed on any significant developments, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said. (WP, 06.24.23)
  • Financial Times reports that in Kyiv, the crisis was seen as a “window of opportunity” for its forces to push ahead with a counteroffensive to liberate territory occupied by Russian troops, said Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister. She added that the decision to invade Ukraine had triggered “the inevitable degradation of the Russian state.” (FT, 06.24.23)
  • Financial Times reports Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke with Putin. He stressed the importance of acting “rationally and sensibly” and said, “nobody should take advantage of the events in Russia,” according to the Turkish government. Erdogan told Putin that Turkey stands ready to “do its part for the swift and peaceful resolution” of this weekend’s uprising, while urging the leader to act with common sense. (FT, 06.24.23)
  • Kommersant reports Russians snapped up plane tickets to leave the country as Wagner headed toward Moscow in a possible power grab. The prices for flights departing on June 24 from Moscow to neighboring countries, such as Turkey, climbed as much as fivefold and there were almost no tickets left as of evening. The situation was similar for flights leaving on June 25. Prices for June 26 were average, the paper said. Wagner troops were 400 kilometers from Moscow as of June 24. (RFE/RL, 06.24.23)
  • The leaders of the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K. spoke about the events in Russia, according to the White House. (The White House, 06.24.23)

June 25

  • 10:25 a.m. message re-posted by ex-Defense Minister of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic Strelkov claimed that it was Utkin aka Wagner who headed the one PMC Wagner convoy that had been advancing to Moscow. (“Strelkov Igor Ivanovich #KRP”/Telegram, 06.25.23)
        • 11:02 a.m. Kadyrov calls the work of the Chechen units sent to Rostov “extremely effective.” (Kadyrov/Telegram, 06.25.23) The units never reached the center of Rostov.
        • 11:58 a.m.Voyenkor Kotyonok Z” reports that some of Wagner’s reconnaissance teams arrived at Kashira in the Moscow region. (“Voyenkor Kotyonok Z”/Telegram, 06.25.23)
        • 4:50 p.m. China’s MFA spokesperson calls the mutiny “Russia’s internal affair,” adding that China “supports Russia in maintaining national stability and achieving development and prosperity.” (Fmprc.gov, 06.25.23)
        • 10:30 p.m. Zelensky, in a phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden, spoke about Kyiv’s counteroffensive against Russian forces and “coordinated their positions” ahead of the July 11-12 NATO summit in Lithuania. (Twitter, 06.25.23)

RM has not yet been able to establish when the following events occurred on June 25:

  • Blinken said Washington was prepared for “every contingency” but added: “We haven’t seen any change in Russia’s nuclear posture. There hasn’t been any change in ours. But it’s something we are going to watch very, very carefully.” (U.S. Department of State, 06.25.23)
  • Financial Times reports that Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said that Prigozhin’s aborted insurrection on June 24 had “ended the myth of the unity of Putin’s Russia” and would weaken Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine. “I hope that peace will be closer.” (FT, 06.25.23)
  • Financial Times reports that Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko. Chinese state media reports did not mention the rebellion and China has made no official statement on the events. China’s state media downplayed the drama, giving precedence to an exchange of letters between President Xi Jinping and a Belgian zookeeper discussing pandas. (FT, 06.25.23)
    • Financial Times quotes president of the Center for China and Globalization, a think-tank in Beijing, Henry Huiyao Wang: “We don’t need another civil war in Russia as well, we need stability in all countries.” (FT, 06.25.23)
    • Wall Street Journal reports that in Chinese state media, news coverage of the insurrection was limited, a contrast with in-depth coverage in most Western media. The state-run Xinhua News Agency carried a report on Putin's speech and said cities, including Moscow, had put counterterrorism measures into action. (WSJ, 06.25.23)
  • U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that the U.S. ambassador to Russia directly contacted Russia during the weekend unrest and made clear that the United States was not involved: “[B]oth Ambassador [Lynne] Tracy and at other levels here in Washington, where we delivered two messages to them: number one, we expected Russia to withhold its obligations—to uphold its obligations, I should say, to protect our embassy and to protect diplomatic personnel who are in Moscow; and two, to reiterate what we said publicly, that this is an internal Russian affair in which the United States is not involved and will not be involved.” (U.S. State Department, 06.26.23)
  • In an interview with Russia Today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tracy had spoken with Russian government representatives on June 25 and conveyed Washington’s view that the events were Russia’s internal affair and its hope that Russian nuclear weapons remained secure. (Mid.ru, 06.26.23)

June 26

  • 8:13 a.m. Shoigu makes his first public appearance since the mutiny. He is shown in uniform on board a helicopter, followed by him entering a military command post where he could be seen chairing a meeting and inspecting maps. The date and exact location of the visit were not specified. (Russian Ministry of Defense/Telegram, 06.26.23)
  • 12:11 p.m. Borrel described Prigozhin as “the monster acting against his creator” and said the weekend’s chaos proved that Putin’s “military power is cracking.” (The Guardian, 06.26.23) 
  • 12:50 p.m. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin calls for moves to strengthen Russian unity in the wake of the crisis. Still, he insists that the Russian government worked “smoothly and clearly” during the crisis. (Government.ru, 06.26.23)
  • 3:49 p.m. Russia’s Vyorstka news outlet reports, citing Belarussian law-enforces, that an 8,000-bed camp was being constructed in Belarus’ Mogilev region for Wagner fighters who’d choose to relocate to Belarus instead of signing up with the MoD. (Vyorstka/Telegram, 06.26.23)
  • 4:42 p.m. Prigozhin’s press service issued a statement in which it said: “We have given a master class of what Feb. 24, 2022, could have looked like. We did not have the goal of overthrowing the existing regime or of the legally elected government. We turned around so as not to shed blood.” He also added that the “march” exposed serious security problems. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.26.23)
  • 10:10 p.m. Putin addresses the nation condemning the organizers of the short-lived mutiny, saying they had betrayed their country and the fighters in their command. He told Wagner paramilitaries to sign contracts with the MoD, go home or leave the country for Belarus.  Putin said the mutiny’s organizers had “betrayed the country and those who were with them,” adding that most of the group’s fighters were “patriots of Russia” who had been “used” by their command. Putin suggested Ukraine was involved in Prigozhin’s short-lived rebellion. “This fratricide is the result of Russia’s enemies and the neo-Nazis in Kyiv, their Western masters and all sorts of national traitors wanted.” (Kremlin.ru, 06.26.23)
  • 10:32 p.m. A Mogilev Telegram channel cited Wagner fighters as saying that some were going to have a camp set up for them in the Grodno region. (Grodno News/Telegram, 06.26.23).
  • 10:34 p.m. Telegram channel “Belarus Glolovnogo Mozga” reports local residents confirming the construction of Wagner camps near the town of Osipovichy. (“Belarus Golovnogo Mozga”/Telegram, 06.26.23)

RM has not yet been able to establish when the following events occurred on June 26:

  • The Wagner group will continue operations in Mali and the Central African Republic despite its leader’s aborted insurrection over the weekend, Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov said on June 26. Wagner members “are working there as instructors. This work, of course, will continue,” Lavrov said. (Mid.ru, 06.26.23)
  • Russian BBC service reports that Wagner headquarters said on June 26 it was working in “normal mode.” (RFE/RL; BBC/Telegram, 06.26.23)
  • Putin held phone calls with the leaders of Iran and Qatar. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi gave “his full support” to Putin during a telephone call. (Kremlin.ru, 06.26.23, Kremlin.ru, 06.26.23)   
  • Germany’s foreign minister said the turmoil in Russia over the weekend revealed “massive cracks” in the Russian narrative of the war in Ukraine. (FT, 06.26.23)
  • Financial Times reports that Ben Wallace, U.K. defense secretary, played down the impact on Putin’s authority, maintaining that “we shouldn’t necessarily over-credit the destabilization, that somehow this is a massive derailment of the Kremlin.” (FT, 06.26.23)

June 27

  • 1:24 p.m. TASS reports that Gen. Viktor Zolotov, commander of the National Guard of Russia, said authorities knew about Prigozhin’s intentions before he launched his attempt. “Specific leaks about preparations for a rebellion that would begin between June 22-25 were leaked from Prigozhin’s camp,” Zolotov told state media. He also alleged that the mutiny had been prepared by the West. (TASS, 06.27.23)
  • 11:19 a.m. ­The MoD says that Wagner is preparing to hand over weaponry to the army. (Russian Ministry of Defense/Telegram 06.27.23)
  • 12:19 p.m. RIA news reports that the FSB dropped charges over the Wagner insurrection after the Kremlin struck a deal with Prigozhin. (RIA, 06.27.23)
  • 1:25 p.m. Putin addressed Russia’s security forces, saying they “essentially stopped a civil war” during Prigozhin’s uprising, which risked creating “chaos.” (Kremlin.ru, 06.27.23)
  • 3:00 p.m. Putin tells MoD personnel on June 27 that “between May 2022 and May 23 alone, the Wagner Group received 86,262 million rubles from the state to pay military salaries and bonuses, including 70,384 million rubles for payroll and 15,877 million rubles for paying out bonuses. While the state covered all the Wagner Group’s funding needs, the company’s owner, Concord, received from the state, or should I say earned, 80 billion rubles ... as the army’s food and canteen provider.” (Kremlin.ru, 06.27.23)
    • ​​​​​​​Bloomberg notes that in the speech given to MoD personnel in Moscow on June 27, Putin gave no explanation for why he allowed Prigozhin, whose rebellion he blamed for the deaths of troops who tried to stop it, to leave without punishment. Instead, he said that his government had paid Wagner over $3 billion over the last year and wasn’t sure how all the money had been spent. (Bloomberg, 06.28.23)
  • 4:38 p.m. Belarussian news outlet BELTA cites Lukashenko confirming that Prigozhin has arrived in Belarus. (BELTA/Telegram, 06.27.23)
  • 4:49 p.m. BELTA news reports that Lukashenko rejected what he described as allegations that Wagner would be guarding Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus. He said Russian and Belarussian regular units guard the weaponry and that Belarussian specialists are helping Russian specialists to maintain the weapons. (BELTA, 06.27.23) 
  • 9:12 p.m. The head of “Just Russia” party Sergei Mironov calls for an investigation into what he claims was a ''line of V.I.P. officials and civil servants'' flocking to leave the country from the private jet terminal of Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport during Wagner’s march toward Moscow. (Sergei Mironov/Telegram, 06.27.23)

RM has not yet been able to establish when the following events occurred on June 27:

  • Lukashenko added that he agreed with Belarusian Defense Minister Viktar Khrenin, who had expressed interest in integrating Wagner mercenaries among his forces. (President.gov.by, 06.27.23)
  • Lukashenko confirmed that Prigozhin had arrived in Minsk as part of a deal to stop the private military outfit’s march on Moscow. (President.gov.by, 06.27.23)
  • “We got the situation wrong,” Lukashenko said. “Both Putin and I thought it would just go away on its own—well, to be honest, I didn’t really think that, but it doesn’t matter. But it didn’t go away on its own.” (President.gov.by, 06.27.23)
  • Bloomberg reports that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that the challenge to Putin from the Wagner mercenary group over the weekend showed that he has become “isolated” and “slow to make decisions.” (Bloomberg, 06.27.23)
  • New York Times reports that a senior Russian general had advance knowledge of Prigozhin’s plans to rebel against Russia’s military leadership, according to U.S. officials briefed on American intelligence on the matter, which has prompted questions about what support the mercenary leader had inside the top ranks. The officials said they are trying to learn if Surovikin helped plan Prigozhin’s actions, which posed the most dramatic threat to Putin in his 23 years in power. American officials also said there are signs that other Russian generals may also have supported Prigozhin’s attempt to change the leadership of the MoD by force. Senior American officials suggest that an alliance between Surovikin and Prigozhin could explain why Prigozhin is still alive, despite seizing a major Russian military hub and ordering an armed march on Moscow. (NYT, 06.27.23)
  • Wagner troops were still inside Ukraine after the weekend mutiny, according to the U.S. Defense Department. (U.S. Department of Defense, 06.27.23)

June 28

  • 0:16 a.m. “Belarus Golovnogo Mozga” reports that satellite images dated June 27 show what appears to be construction underway at a military compound near the town of Asipovichy, some 100 km southeast of Minsk. (“Belarus Glovnogo Mozga”/Telegram, 06.28.23)

  • 9:45 p.m. Putin said that he did not doubt the support of Russian citizens during the rebellion by the Wagner mercenary group. “I did not doubt the reaction in Dagestan and in all of the country,” he said as he met Sergei Melikov, governor of Dagestan. Putin was replying to Melikov, who had said that “there was not a single person in Dagestan who did not support decisions made by the leaders of the Russian Federation” over the aborted rebellion. (Kremlin.ru, 06.28.23)
  • 10:58 p.m. Russian journalist Alexei Venediktov reports that Surovikin “has not been in touch with his family for three days. His security guards do not answer either.” People familiar with the matter said Surovikin, like many in Russia’s security establishment, knew about Prigozhin’s plans but said he had not been among the plotters. (aavst2022/Telegram, 06.28.23)

RM has not yet been able to establish when the following events occurred on June 28:

  • Wall Street Journal reports that Prigozhin planned to capture Russia’s military leadership as part of the mutiny, and he accelerated his plans after the country’s domestic intelligence agency became aware of the plot. The plot’s premature launch was among the factors that could explain its ultimate failure after 36 hours when Prigozhin called off an armed march on Moscow that had initially faced little resistance. Prigozhin originally intended to capture Shoigu and Gerasimov during a visit to a southern region that borders Ukraine that the two were planning. But the FSB found out about the plan two days before it was to be executed, according to Western officials. (WSJ, 06.28.23)
  • Bloomberg reports that a former Russian senior official who still maintains close government ties described the spectacle of Prigozhin leading his column of tanks and fighters to within 200 km (124 miles) of Moscow and then being allowed to leave for neighboring Belarus without facing criminal charges as a “banana republic.” (Bloomberg, 06.28.23)
  • Wall Street Journal reports that Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Vershinin, flew to Damascus to personally deliver a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: Wagner Group forces would no longer operate there independently. Senior Russian foreign ministry officials phoned the president of the Central African Republic, whose personal bodyguards include Wagner mercenaries, offering assurances that June 24 crisis wouldn't derail Russia's expansion into Africa. Government jets from Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations shuttled from Syria to Mali, another of Wagner's key foreign outposts. Around 6,000 or so Wagner personnel perform varied work outside of Russia and Ukraine—from safeguarding mines and politicians in the Central African Republic, to defending oil wells and government-held territory in Syria. (WSJ, 06.28.23)
  • Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said the country will strengthen its eastern border with neighboring Belarus as Wagner Group mercenaries relocate to the Moscow-allied country following their failed mutiny against Russia’s military leadership, Polish officials said. He added that Wagner’s expected move to Belarus was “a new and much more difficult stage of [Russia’s] hybrid war.” (Gov.pl, 06.28.23)

June 29

RM has not yet been able to establish when the following events occurred on June 29:

  • The Moscow Times reports that Prigozhin’s troll farm and media outfit are looking for fresh ownership after his aborted rebellion and exile in Belarus. After years of denials, Prigozhin confirmed in February 2023 the widely held belief that he was behind Russia’s network of troll farms known as the Internet Research Agency. The network expanded in 2019 into the Patriot media group, with a mission to “create a favorable information space” about Russia and Prigozhin appointed chairman of its board of trustees. Patriot’s work has been paralyzed for nearly a week after police raided its St. Petersburg headquarters during Wagner’s dramatic march toward Moscow. (MT/AFP, 06.29.23)
  • Financial Times reports that Surovikin has not been heard from for several days and has been detained, according to sources in Russia’s elite and Western government officials familiar with the matter. (FT, 06.29.23) Surovikin was last seen on a video address to Wagner forces on June 24.
    • The Dossier Center, which investigates the Russian leadership, said Surovikin had a personal registration with the Wagner Group. (Bloomberg, 06.30.23)
  • Bloomberg reports that investigators have questioned Surovikin about the failed mutiny that presented the greatest challenge to Putin’s quarter-century rule. (Bloomberg, 06.29.23)
  • New York Times reports that Putin fed speculation about a broader crackdown in a closed-door meeting with Russian media figures at the Kremlin. In the meeting, he presented himself as a leader in total control, and said he was delving into Prigozhin’s business contracts with the MoD. (NYT, 06.29.23)
  • According to a Levada Center poll, after the mutiny, the share of Russians with trust in Prigozhin has halved. While Prigozhin’s rating grew rapidly in earlier months (from 1% in April to 4% in May), his revolt reversed this trend. (Levada Center, 07.03.23)
    • Most Russians (44%) heard about the mutiny from television which by default presented the anti-Wagner narrative. (Levada Center, 07.03.23)
    • Asked about Prigozhin, 22% of respondents said they trusted him, while half (50%)  did not. Young (18-24 year old) Russians remain optimistic about Prigozhin’s popularity in the country, with a 39% support rating, while 54% of the 55 and above age bracket described Prigozhin’s support as “low” or “non-existent.” (Levada Center, 07.03.23)
  • Borrel says “it’s clear that Putin comes out of this crisis weakened.” “But a weaker Putin is a greater danger.” (EEAS, 06.29.23)
  • Kommersant cites Putin’s press secretary Peskov saying that Putin met with Prigozhin on June 29. Peskov said in a meeting with journalists on July 10 that the meeting was part of a three-hour gathering of 35 people, which included unit commanders from Wagner, who conveyed to the Russian leader that they would continue to fight for him in the war against Ukraine. (Kommersant, 07.10.23)

June 30

  • 4:38 p.m. The Russian MFA states that the Wagner Group will continue to work in African countries if their governments chose to maintain contracts with the private military group. Lavrov said: “The future of the agreements between African countries and the Wagner private military company is above all up to the governments of the countries concerned.” (Mid.ru, 06.30.23)
    • Lavrov asserted that Russia would emerge “stronger and more resilient” after the mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group. In Lavrov’s telling, the mutiny was “a minor trouble.”

RM has not yet been able to establish when the following events occurred on June 30:

  • The Washington Post publishes an interview with Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who claims Wagner’s exit from the frontline has not led to a noticeable change on the battlefield following the rebellion. (WP, 06.30.23)
  • Financial Times reports that while Putin has dropped charges against Wagner, Russia’s security forces “have started shaking down sympathizers and those who violated their oath,” said a person who has known Prigozhin since the 1990s. Surovikin and other Wagner-friendly generals, such as Mikhail Mizintsev, “were running around like idiots trying to convince [Prigozhin] to stop. Now they’re being treated like they could be traitors,” the person added. By contrast, Zolotov has been rewarded with a promotion for his police force, the National Guard. (FT, 06.29.23)

This is an evolving draft. Readers are welcome to suggest additional entries by emailing us at [email protected] with the subject line “Prigozhin Mutiny Timeline.”


  1. All distances are given as measured by Google if driving between the two locations.

Mikael Pir-Budagyan

Mikael Pir-Budagyan is a student associate with Russia Matters.

Photo shared by Fargoh in the public domain.