What we know about the rebellion of the Wagner Group against Moscow
The leader of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigojine, 62, openly went into rebellion against the Russian command. He posted a series of messages from Friday evening to Saturday claiming that he had returned with his mercenary troops to the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, claiming to have taken control of sites military.
What triggers armed rebellion?
For months, Prigozhin has been in a power struggle with Russia’s military hierarchy, blaming it for the deaths of its troops in eastern Ukraine. On several occasions, he accused high-ranking military officers of not adequately equipping his private army, of delaying the advance of his troops with questions of bureaucracy, while attributing to himself all the victories won by Wagner’s men. .
On Friday, Prigozhin let his anger explode, saying Moscow’s military rulers had ordered strikes on his camps and killed scores of Wagner’s paramilitaries. Moscow has denied being behind the strikes. He said senior members of the Russian military should be arrested, swearing “to go all the way”.
Where is the armed insurrection?
During the night from Friday to Saturday, the leader of the Wagner group claimed that his forces had shot down a Russian military helicopter. A few hours later, he assured that military sites in the south of Russia, in Rostov-on-Don were ” under control “ of his men. It is the headquarters of the Southern Command of the Russian army from where the military operations in Ukraine are coordinated.
According to British intelligence, there had been little fighting between the men of the Wagner group and the Russian soldiers on Saturday morning, some members of the Russian forces “most likely remained passive, approving [l’action de] Wagner ».
What is Moscow’s reaction?
The Kremlin said overnight from Friday to Saturday that “measures were taken” against the mutiny. Russia has tightened security in Moscow and in several regions such as Rostov and Lipetsk.
The Russian army began to conduct “necessary operational and combat actions” in the Voronezh region, bordering Ukraine, regional governor Alexander Gusev said on Telegram. Voronezh sits about halfway between Moscow and the city of Rostov, where Wagner claimed the first military infrastructure takeovers early Saturday.
Vladimir Putin on Saturday denounced the “deadly threat” and the risk of ” civil war “ posed by Yevgeny Prigozhin. He urged the country to unite. Describing the action of Wagner’s mercenaries as ” treason “he swore to inflict a “unavoidable punishment”. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and the heads of both chambers of the Russian Parliament called on people to support Putin.