Thursday, June 13, 2024

Russia witnesses armed mutiny by private mercenary, Putin vows to crush it

Founder of Wagner private mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday vowed to crush an armed mutiny after the private army of mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin seized control of a southern city as part of an attempt to oust the military leadership.

Russian private military contractor Wagner Group took control of the streets of Rostov-on-Don, a city of more than a million people close to the border with Ukraine. Prigozhin, a former convict and long-time ally of Putin, leads a private army that includes thousands of former prisoners recruited from Russian jails.

Speaking during an emergency televised address in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin promised that he would not allow Russia to slip into civil war. In Moscow, there was an increased security presence on the streets. Red Square was blocked off by metal barriers.

“I appeal to the citizens of Russia, to the personnel of the armed forces, law enforcement and security services, fighters and commanders currently fighting on their positions, repelling the enemy attacks, doing it heroically,” Putin said.

“I spoke to the commanders in all directions last night. I appeal also to those who were deceptively pulled into the criminal adventure, pushed towards a serious crime of an armed mutiny,” he added.

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