Russian President, Vladimir Putin has addressed the threat of a military confrontation involving Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner group, a mercenary organization in the country.
KanyiDaily recalls that Yevgeny Prigozhin had mobilized his troops on Friday, accusing the Russian army of launching a rocket attack that allegedly resulted in the deaths of many of his men positions in Ukraine.
Prigozhin said his fighters had crossed the border from Ukraine, where they had been fighting alongside Russia, into Rostov-on-Don, a Russian city, and would destroy anyone in their way, including roadblocks and aircraft.
The Wagner leader vowed to seek revenge and “stop the evil brought by the military leadership of the country”. He called on interested change seekers to join his quest for justice, clarifying that the rebellion was not a military coup.
He added, “There are 25,000 of us and we are going to figure out what this chaos is happening in the country. Anyone who wants to join can. We need to end this mess.”
Putin Calls Wagner Rebellion ‘High Treason’
Speaking in an emergency televised address on Saturday, Putin condemned the “armed mutiny” and warned that those involved would face consequences as traitors to the state.
He asserted his commitment to protecting Russia, stating that he had issued relevant orders to the Russian military to address the situation.
Putin emphasized that decisive action would be taken to restore stability in Rostov-on-Don, where the Wagner Group claimed to have taken control of military installations.
Describing the rebellion as an act of “high treason,” Putin lamented that some Russians had been deceived into participating in this criminal adventure.
“This internal mutiny is a mortal blow to us,” Putin said, adding that the situation is a “stab in the back on our troops and the people of Russia”.
“Those who have organized an armed rebellion will be held accountable,” Putin said without mentioning Wagner or Prigozhin by name, “those who have been drawn into this, I call on you to stop your criminal actions.”
Putin said that the troops “who went on the path of treason will be punished and will be held accountable,” adding, “the armed forces have been given the necessary orders.”
“Personal interests have led to the betrayal of our country and the cause that our armed forces are fighting,” added Putin.
Following Putin’s address, Prigozhin responded on Telegram, stating that the president was mistaken. He asserted that his forces were patriotic and had fought for their motherland, dismissing any notion of surrendering upon the president’s or the FSB’s request.
“We are patriots of our Motherland, we fought and are fighting,” he said in audio messages. “And no one is going to turn themselves in at the request of the president, the FSB or anyone else.”
Prigozhin, who leads the private military group Wagner, claimed that his forces had seized control of Russian military facilities in Rostov-on-Don, a crucial operational base for Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.
He threatened to march on Moscow unless Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russia’s top general, Valery Gerasimov, met with him in Rostov.
The Wagner Group also alleged that they had taken over Russian facilities in another city, Voronezh, located approximately 600 kilometers (372 miles) north of Rostov-on-Don.
The governor of the Voronezh region, Alexander Gusev, confirmed that the Russian military was undertaking combat measures in the area.
KanyiDaily recalls that thousands of men and women had left Russia after President Vladimir Putin ordered 300,000 people to be recruited into the military to fight in the war in Ukraine.