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Wagner Group chief likely thought ‘odds were not in his favor’ before ordering troops to turn around: Expert

The Wagner Group leader likely thought the odds weren’t in his favor in continuing the march to Moscow before ordering troops to turn around, according to an expert.

Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Saturday that he ordered his troops to stop heading towards Moscow and instead return to Ukraine in order to “avoid bloodshed.”

Former CIA station chief Dan Hoffman told Fox News Digital on Saturday that he believes Prigozhin ordered his troops to turn around after realizing his chances weren’t positive if his troops reached Moscow.

“Clearly Prigozhin assessed that, you know, the odds were not in his favor if he carried on to Moscow, if he ever really intended to do that in the first place, I don’t know,” Hoffman said. 

RUSSIA OPENS CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO WAGNER GROUP CHIEF

Yevgeny Prigozhin

In this handout photo taken from video released by Prigozhin Press Service, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner Group military company, records his video addresses in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2023. (Prigozhin Press Service via AP)

In the process, however, Hoffman said that Prigozhin has made himself “Vladimir Putin’s enemy,” saying “There’s no question about that.”

“That’s one of the consequences of all of this. You can’t do what he did and take over the Rostov military district, you know, without making yourself Vladimir Putin’s enemy,” Hoffman said.

Prigozhin’s order for his troops to turn around came after saying that his troops were just 120 miles from Moscow.

Wagner Group map

Wagner Group’s progression to Moscow. (Fox News)

The office of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that a deal had been negotiated with Prigozhin after discussing the situation with Putin. 

Lukashenko’s office claimed that Prigozhin agreed to order his troops to turn around in exchange for a proposed settlement with security guarantees for Wagner Group troops.

WAGNER CHIEF ORDERS TROOPS TO TURN AROUND FROM MOSCOW ‘TO AVOID BLOODSHED’

Putin

In this handout photo taken from video released by Russian Presidential Press Service, Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the nation in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2023.  (Russian Presidential Press Service via AP)

While the Wagner Group’s strife with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has captured the world’s attention, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Charles Kupchan, who also served on former President Obama’s National Security Council as senior director for European affairs, told Fox News Digital that he doesn’t think the situation in Ukraine will be affected much.

“I don’t think it will have a big impact in the sense of affecting the lay of the land on the battlefield. Now, had civil war broke out and Putin needed to draw elements of the military from eastern Ukraine, from the front lines to bring them back into Russia to help defend the regime, then obviously we’d be in a different ball game,” Kupchan said.

WHO IS YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, PUTIN’S WARLORD AND WAGNER GROUP FOUNDER?

Wagner group rebellion

Members of Wagner group inspect a car in a street of Rostov-on-Don, on June 24, 2023. President Vladimir Putin on June 24, 2023 said an armed mutiny by Wagner mercenaries was a “stab in the back” and that the group’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin had betrayed Russia, as he vowed to punish the dissidents. Prigozhin said his fighters control key military sites in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don. (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

In a series of video and audio recordings on Friday, Prigozhin angrily accused Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of ordering a rocket strike on the private military contractor’s field camps where the group is fighting on behalf of Russia in Ukraine.

“This is not a military coup, but a march of justice,” Prigozhin declared.  “The evil embodied by the country’s military leadership must be stopped.”

“This scum will be stopped,” Prigozhin said, referring to Shoigu.

Russia’s Defense Ministry denied executing the rocket attack.

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Members of Wagner group detain a man in the city of Rostov-on-Don, on June 24, 2023. President Vladimir Putin on June 24, 2023 said an armed mutiny by Wagner mercenaries was a “stab in the back” and that the group’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin had betrayed Russia, as he vowed to punish the dissidents. Prigozhin said his fighters control key military sites in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don. (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)

According to state news agency Taas, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee, part of the Federal Security Services, will be opening a criminal investigation on charges of calling for an armed rebellion.

Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.

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