Sat 24 Jun 2023 08:23, United Kingdom
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the leader of Wagner’s mercenary group of treason and leading an “armed mutiny”.
he claims the actions of a former ally Yevgeny PrigozhinWho is Leading the move to oust Russia’s defense ministerIt is a “stab in the back” of the country’s army and people.
Ukrainian war latest: Wagner boss and his troops “arrived in important Russian military city”
The city is home to the Russian military headquarters that oversees the fighting in Ukraine.
The mercenaries also took control of military installations in the city of Voronezh, about 310 miles (500 kilometers) south of Moscow, according to the Kremlin.
Prigorzhin vowed to “destroy anyone who stands in our way”.
“This is not an armed rebellion, but a march for justice,” he said.
But Putin responded: “This amounts to an armed mutiny.
“Russia will defend itself and resist this move.
“We are fighting for the lives and safety of our citizens.
“This is an attempt to subvert us from within.
“This is a stab in the back for our military and the Russian people.”
Prigozhin had a long-running feud with Moscow’s defense ministry led by Sergei Shoigu, who he claims targeted his troops and ordered a rocket attack on Wagner’s camp in Ukraine, killing “significant numbers of our troops.” Comrade”.
“This is not an armed rebellion, but a march for justice,” Prigozhin said.
The FSB security service urged Wagner Group fighters not to carry out “criminal and treasonous orders” and to detain Prigozhin.
The Ministry of Defense has denied planning the attack against Wagner fighters, calling the allegations “untrue and provocative”.
Prigozhin claimed the attack came after he criticized the country’s top brass on the Telegram messaging app.
He said in a video that the Kremlin’s justification for invading Ukraine last February was based on lies and that the “evil” actions of Russia’s military leadership must be stopped.
Prigozhin also claimed that the defense minister ordered the hiding of 2,000 bodies of Wagnerian fighters in morgues in southern Russia.
Security measures have been tightened in Moscow and Rostov-on-Don, a sign of how seriously the Kremlin is taking the threat.
It was not immediately clear how Prigozhin’s troops entered the southern Russian city, or how many troops he had with him.
While the outcome of the confrontation remains unclear, it appears likely to further hamper Moscow’s war effort as Kiev forces test Russia’s defenses in the initial phase of the counteroffensive.
The dispute could also have an impact Putin And his ability to maintain a united front.
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Wagner’s troops played a vital role in the Russia-Ukraine War, successfully capturing the city of Bakhmut, where the bloodiest and longest battle took place.
But Prigozhin has increasingly criticized Russia’s military leadership, accusing it of being incompetent and starving his troops of weapons and ammunition.