Putin: is president in Russia after Wagner Group mutiny, is plane missing - where is he and Yevgeny Prigozhin?

Putin's location has not been known since the weekend's Wagner Group 'mutiny'

Activists hold a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin near Red Square in Moscow (Photo: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)Activists hold a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin near Red Square in Moscow (Photo: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)
Activists hold a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin near Red Square in Moscow (Photo: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)

The locations of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group coup, and Vladimir Putin remain unknown this morning after the astonishing events that shook Russia over the weekend.

The Kremlin has refuted claims that had Putin fled by plane, despite reports of one of the planes typically used by the Russian president for official trips departed from Moscow at 2.15pm local time.

According to Flight Radar, which monitors aircraft movements in real-time, the aircraft disappeared from radar 30 minutes later, approximately 150 kilometres away from Putin's official residence. Here is everything you need to know about the situation.

Where is Putin?

According to the FlightRadar data, the plane vanished from radar screens in the vicinity of the Tver region at 3:06 pm, but when questioned about Putin potentially travelling to the north-west, possibly St. Petersburg, by Russian state news agency Tass, spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "Putin is working at the Kremlin."

According to multiple reports, several other business jets also departed from the Russian capital and were seen heading towards St. Petersburg. Additionally, it has been reported that Deputy Premier Denis Manturov left Russia for Turkey on Saturday (24 June).

The location of Putin has remained a mystery since Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin declared a “march of justice” on Friday (23 June) to oust defence minister Sergei Shoigu, during which the mercenaries captured the southern city of Rostov-on-Don and then marched on Moscow.

The rebellion ended a day later when Prigozhin ordered his troops back. The Kremlin said it had made a deal that the mercenary chief will move to Belarus and receive an amnesty, along with his soldiers.

It is unclear what will ultimately happen to Prigozhin and his forces. Few details of the deal were released either by the Kremlin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who brokered it.

The mutiny marked the biggest challenge to President Putin in more than 20 years of rule. He has not made any public appearances since then, and Prigozhin has not made any public statements - his whereabouts have been unclear since he drove out of Rostov-on-Don in an SUV on Saturday.

However, Shoigu has inspected troops in his first public appearance since the mercenary uprising, with the Russian defence ministry releasing a video showing him flying in a helicopter and then attending a meeting with military officers at headquarters in Ukraine.

Where is Prigozhin?

Following the end of the attempted mutiny, Prigozhin and mercenaries from the Wagner Group were giving an ultimatum by the Kremlin - sign the contracts to integrate into the military or go to Belarus. The deal was struck with the help of Putin-ally and Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko.

In the aftermath of the mutiny, Prigozhin was assumed to be in Belarus. However, Lukashenko stated on Friday 7 July that the Wagner leader was actually still in Russia, located in St Petersburg.

While confusion continues to reign over Prigozhin's whereabouts, the Kremlin responded to reports by saying that it was "not following" his movements.

How did the mutiny unfold?

For most of Saturday (24 June), Putin's hold on power in Russia looked to be weakening fast when Prigozhin mounted what some military experts have described as a "mutiny".

A convoy of Wagner Group soldiers had made its way to the Russian city of Rostov, on route to Moscow, and met no resistance, claiming all military sites in Rostov, a key crossing point for Russia’s military operation, under their control.

The escalation came after a long period of tension between Prigozhin and Russia’s military chiefs, who the Wagner Group leader had directly accused of “putting up helicopters to destroy our boys” and “killing children” by sending untrained soldiers to fight in the war in Ukraine.

Prigozhin has long been critical over how the invasion of Ukraine is being carried out, slamming chiefs over their “incompetence” and saying they have deliberately undersupplied Wagner soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

“Those who destroyed our lads, who destroyed the lives of many tens of thousands of Russian soldiers, will be punished. I ask that no one offer resistance,” Prigozhin said in a series of audio messages on Telegram on 23 June.