Counter-terrorist operation regime lifted in Moscow, Voronezh regions
Over the weekend, Russia went through what is possibly the most critical moment of its timeline since the war in Ukraine began.
Russia's National Antiterrorism Committee (NAC) said on Monday that the legal regime of a counter-terrorist operation has been terminated in Moscow and the in the Moscow region.
Over the weekend, Russia went through what is possibly the most critical moment of its timeline since the war in Ukraine began, narrowly averting a full-scale civil war after the head of Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, accused the Russian Ministry of Defense of striking a Wagner military camp and vowed revenge.
Last Friday, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) opened a criminal case for inciting armed mutiny over statements made on behalf of Prigozhin, The case was dropped after an agreement was reached with the mediation of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.
The following day, a counter-terrorist operation regime was introduced in the Russian capital of Moscow and the Moscow region in response to the events.
That same day, Prigozhin agreed to de-escalate the situation after he accepted a proposal from Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko to move in exile to neighboring Belarus under guarantees from Putin.
"Due to the absence of threats to life, health, property and other legally protected interests of people, the head of the counter-terrorist operation, the head of the FSB of Russia for the city of Moscow and the Moscow region decided to cancel the counter-terrorist operation legal regime in Moscow and the Moscow region from 09:00 [local time, 06:00 GMT] on June 26, 2023, the NAC said in a statement.
The statement further said that the situation in Moscow is presently stable and that the temporary restrictions in the territory of Moscow and the Moscow region have been lifted.
"We lift all restrictions related to the introduction of the counter-terrorist operation regime," Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin wrote on Telegram Monday.
The FSB regional office in the Voronezh region also announced the the legal regime of a counter-terrorist operation has been canceled.
"The regime of a counter-terrorist operation has been canceled," the FSB regional office said.
The Kremlin on Saturday confirmed that Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin will move to Belarus as part of the deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who offered to mediate, to put an end to the armed mutiny that Prigozhin led against Russia's military leadership. Furthermore, the criminal investigation against Prigozhin will be dropped, even though the Kremlin has announced that it does not know Prigozhin's whereabouts at the moment.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to Lukashenko's offer since he had known Prigozhin personally for around 20 years and that Putin's word can be considered a guarantee for allowing Prigozhin to depart to Belarus.
"A criminal case [against Prigozhin] will be terminated and he will leave for Belarus. If you ask, what is the guarantee that Prigozhin could leave for Belarus, it is the word of the Russian president," Peskov told reporters.
After Peskov called today's events "tragic", he expressed the Kremlin's appreciation for Lukashenko's efforts, which resulted in avoiding further losses and averted internal confrontation.
"There was the highest goal of avoiding bloodshed, internal confrontation and clashes with unpredictable results. It is for these goals that Lukashenko's mediation efforts were made, and President Putin made a relevant decision on that," he told journalists, adding that the phone call between the two presidents was sincere and "very constructive".
Furthermore, according to the spokesperson, fighters who did not partake in the mutiny will sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry and vowed that those who did participate won't be prosecuted in recognition of their service.