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Wagner fighters leave Lipetsk region as Chechens withdraw from Rostov-on-Don in Russia

Fighters of Wagner Group private military company deploy outside the Russian Southern Military District staff headquarters on June 24, 2023 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Photo by Arkady Budnitsky/ UPI
1 of 3 | Fighters of Wagner Group private military company deploy outside the Russian Southern Military District staff headquarters on June 24, 2023 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Photo by Arkady Budnitsky/ UPI | License Photo

June 25 (UPI) -- Wagner Group mercenaries who marched toward Moscow this weekend have now withdrawn from the Lipetsk region in southern Russia as Chechen fighters deployed to stop them left the city of Rostov-on-Don, officials said Sunday.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group, had reached a deal with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko late Saturday ending his armed rebellion against the Russian Defense Department over disagreements regarding the war in Ukraine.

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Prigozhin, a former close ally of Vladimir Putin, was surprisingly denounced by Russia's president and threatened with criminal charges that have now been dropped. The Wagner boss will now live in exile in Belarus under terms of the deal.

The Wagner Group is likely to cease operating as it did and the next steps for Prigozhin -- whose whereabouts are unknown -- remains unclear.

Wagner forces had first taken over a military facility in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don on Friday before marching toward Russia's capital city but quickly withdrew from the southern stronghold on Saturday after the deal was brokered. Prigozhin and his forces were cheered by locals as they left.

The mercenaries have now left the Lipetsk region of Russia -- about 290 miles away from Moscow, the region's government said in a statement on Telegram.

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Lipetsk officials said in another statement that roads that had been destroyed by Russian officials to prevent Wagner advances are "already being used by motorists" again.

"The sites were covered with rubble and sand, tomorrow they will begin to asphalt," Lipetsk officials said.

In Moscow, the city's Red Square remained closed Sunday after the country tightened security in the face of the Wagner rebellion.

Meanwhile, the Chechen special forces unit Akhmat said in a statement Sunday it was withdrawing from Rostov-on-Don where the soldiers had been deployed to ward off the Wagner Group.

Alexei Logivenko, the head of the Rostov region, claimed Sunday that Wagner forces caused over two acres of damage to local roads which will take about two days to repair.

Maxim Yantsov, the head of the Pavlovsky district of the Voronezh region, said in a statement that 20 homes were damaged during a firefight as Wagner forces passed through on Saturday.

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