After the commander of the Wagner mercenary army captured a crucial military headquarters directing the offensive in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a solemn oath on Saturday that he would not allow the country to descend into civil war.
Since coming to power in late 1999, Vladimir Putin has presided over Russia’s most significant national security crisis since the swiftly unfolding events constitute the most severe challenge yet to the long rule of the Kremlin boss.
Wagner head Yevgeny Prighozin announced that his soldiers had taken possession of the military command center and an airbase in the city of Rostov-on-Don, located in the southern region of Russia, and promised to overthrow the senior military authorities in Moscow.
In his response, President Putin delivered a televised address to the country in which he lambasted his former comrade for a “stab in the back” that constituted a threat to the very life of Russia. Putin’s former buddy’s private army had given some of the most successful shock troopers in Moscow’s onslaught in Ukraine.
“Any kind of internal strife poses a grave danger to the existence of our state and to us as a nation.” This is a blow to Russia and to our people,” stated President Vladimir Putin.
It is imperative that all of our troops work together to win this conflict since it will determine the future of our people.
“What we have been confronted with is treachery in its purest form. Putin said this in reference to Prigozhin, who created a powerbase as a catering contractor to the Kremlin and now leads a formidable private military force. Putin was alluding to Prigozhin when he made this statement.
Putin has made the following threat: “All those who consciously stood on the path of betrayal, who prepared an armed rebellion, who stood on the path of blackmail and terrorist methods will suffer the inevitable punishment, before the law and before our people,” he said.
Prighozin had allegedly shot his own video message in Rostov-on-Don, in which he accused the Russian military leadership of treason and failure in the continuing war against Ukrainian forces. The Russian president’s address took place not long after Prighozin had released his own video message online.
“A significant portion of territory has been lost. Soldiers have been killed that are three to four times more than what it states in the records that have been provided to the top,” he claimed, accusing military leaders of concealing the actual amount of Russian fatalities in Ukraine from the Kremlin.
“Military sites in Rostov, including an aerodrome, are under control,” he said, adding that jets participating in the Ukraine conflict “are leaving as normal.” Rostov is located in Russia.
In a previous audio message, he was quoted as saying, “We are dying for the Russian people.” Everyone here is prepared to pass away. All 25,000, followed by another 25,000 after that… Everything that gets in our way will be obliterated by our forces.
The headquarters of the Russian military operation in Ukraine is located in Rostov-on-Don, which serves as an important logistics base.
The term “civil conflict”
Videos and photographs that were uploaded on the internet, including those published by the state-controlled news agency TASS, revealed that armed men had surrounded administrative buildings in Rostov and that tanks had been placed in the city center. There was a lack of clarity on the identities of the armed individuals.
It was declared by the mayor of Moscow that “anti-terrorist” measures were being implemented in the city and its surrounding areas, and officials stated that security had been reinforced in various districts.
Prigozhin was accused of seeking to start a “civil conflict” by the FSB security service, and Wagner fighters were instructed to detain him as a result.
The Russian Ministry of Defense issued a plea to Wagner fighters, urging them to “show reason” and forsake Prigozhin, and promising to “guarantee the safety” of those who complied with the request.
According to TASS, which cited a source inside the law enforcement community, important infrastructure in Moscow was “under reinforced protection.”
According to a statement made by a spokesperson for the Kremlin named Dmitry Peskov, Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov had notified Vladimir Putin of “the initiation of a criminal case in connection with an attempt to organize an armed rebellion.”
Ahead of his uprising, Prigozhin accused Moscow of launching missile attacks on his forces, which he said were responsible for the deaths of “a huge number of our fighters.”
“The council of commanders of PMC Wagner has made a decision — the evil that the military leadership of the country brings must be stopped,” he stated in a series of heated audio recordings that were provided by his spokesmen.
He admonished the Russians for trying to oppose his men and pleaded with them to side with him.
He stated, “We need to put an end to this mess,” and went on to explain that “this is not a military coup, but a march of justice.”
Prigozhin’s unit was in the vanguard of Russia’s attack in Ukraine; nevertheless, in the most recent months, it has been embroiled in a contentious dispute with the leadership of Moscow’s military.
He has frequently placed the responsibility for the deaths of his fighters on Sergei Shoigu, who is the Minister of Defense, and Valery Gerasimov, who is the Chief of the General Staff.
“I implore you to cease,”
The Russian Ministry of Defense issued a warning that Ukrainian forces were taking advantage of the fighting among themselves in order to prepare for an assault in the area surrounding the eastern hotspot of Bakhmut.
A distinguished Russian general pleaded with Prigozhin to abandon his plans to replace the head of the defense ministry.
In a very unusual video message, Sergei Surovikin, chief of Russia’s aerospace forces, pleaded with the audience to halt what they were doing.
It is vital, before it is too late, to obey the will and command of the president of the Russian Federation, who was chosen by the people.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a prominent opponent of the Kremlin, has urged his fellow Russians to embrace Prigozhin, stating that it is appropriate to support “even the devil” when it comes to opposing the Kremlin.
The Institute for the Study of War, a research tank located in Washington, stated that the Wagner chief’s effort to force a leadership change in the defense ministry “is unlikely to succeed” due to the fact that Surovikin had criticized his call for rebellion.
On the other hand, it stated that the apparent conquest of Rostov-on-Don by Wagner “would have significant impacts on Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.”
Mykhailo Podolyak, a top advisor to Ukraine’s president, claimed on Twitter that “everything is just beginning in Russia” while the Defense Ministry of Kyiv stated that it was watching the situation.
A fresh barrage of Russian missiles was fired at Ukraine on Saturday, and both the capital city of Kyiv and the central city of Dnipro have reported injuries and damage as a result. Ukraine is also on high alert as a result of this.
Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States, was given an update on the situation in Russia, and a spokeswoman for the National Security Council indicated that Washington “will be consulting with allies and partners on these developments.”
Both France and Germany have stated that they are monitoring the situation very closely.
Putting military operations into question
Prigozhin came clean about his involvement in the shadowy mercenary organization Wagner and his interference in US elections just a year ago, after years of operating in the shadows and keeping his activities a secret.
During the longest and deadliest fight of the conflict, his forces, which were strengthened by tens of thousands of jail recruits, played a crucial part in Russia’s seizure of Bakhmut. This battle was also the longest.
On the other hand, he made accusations against the highest-ranking officials in Moscow this week, saying that they lied to Russians about the attack in Ukraine.
The question that he posed was, “Why did the special military operation begin?” “A scumbag gang’s egos demanded that they fight a war in order to further their careers.”