In an urgent statement, Vladimir Putin condemned the actions of Yevgeny Prigozhin as an act of betrayal, emphasizing that he betrayed not only Russia but also its people and the fighters the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC). He assured that those who have taken the path of rebellion will face “inevitable punishment.”
“The internal turmoil poses a grave threat to our nation's sovereignty, and we will respond resolutely. Those who have consciously chosen the path of treachery will face inevitable punishment. They will be held accountable by the law and answer to our citizens. The armed forces have been given clear instructions,” stated Putin.
He also added that “decisive actions will be taken to stabilize the situation in Rostov-on-Don.” According to him, the situation there “remains difficult, with the functioning of civilian and military authorities practically paralyzed.”
While Putin did not mention the name of Prigozhin in his address, he did recall the “heroes of Wagner.” He urged Wagner personnel to “cease involvement in criminal activities.”
Putin also drew parallels with the year 1917 when Russia saw a revolution during the height of World War I, leading to the collapse of the army, the state, and eventually, a civil war. “Back then, victory in the war was stolen from us, plunging us into chaos and anarchy. We will not allow history to repeat itself,” he declared.
According to a source in Russian intelligence agencies cited by Reuters, it has been reported that the Wagner Private Military Company has taken control of military installations in Voronezh. However, Reuters highlights its inability to independently verify this information. Prior reports mentioned the movement of a military convoy towards Voronezh.
In response to the situation, the regime of counter-terrorism operation has been implemented in Voronezh, as well as in Moscow and the Moscow region. The authorities in the Tula region have announced temporary restrictions on transit from the Moscow and Lipetsk regions.
Earlier, a video was released showing mercenaries from the Wagner PMC entering the headquarters of the Southern Military District of the Russian Armed Forces in Rostov-on-Don. The footage also includes a conversation between the leader of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant General Yunus-Bek Yevkurov.