Wagner mercenary group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin resurfaced on Monday, posting an audio message to Telegram in which he thanked the Russian people for standing behind the war effort and suggested that his forces could return to the war front.
“Today, more than ever, we need your support. Thank you for that. I want you to understand that our ‘March of Justice’ was aimed at fighting traitors and mobilizing our society. And I think we have achieved a lot of it,” he stated. “In the near future, I am sure that you will see our next victories at the front. Thanks guys!”
Prigozhin, last month, abandoned the Ukrainian warfront and marched his forces into Russia. Wagner troops seized the Russian military headquarters at Rostov-on-Don and marched toward Moscow.
He claimed the Ministry of Defense targeted his forces and characterized his effort as a “March for Justice.” Ultimately, Wagner stopped short of Moscow after Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko negotiated a ceasefire in which the Kremlin would drop charges against Prigozhin, who would in turn relocate his men to Belarus.
He has denied that his actions were an attempt to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin, though much of the media has characterized them as such.
Despite the disruption of the war front and the internal chaos in Russia that Prigozhin’s march generated, the Ukrainian forces were largely unable to take advantage of the episode to make gains in their counteroffensive.
Prigozhin’s reference to the group’s “next victories at the front” seems to suggest that the mercenaries will return to the field. The group spearheaded the Russian seizure of Bakhmut earlier this year, where Ukrainian forces had managed stave off Muscovite advances for months.