The businessman behind the private military company has been accused of “rebellion” against Moscow
Evgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group private military company, has been accused by the government of staging an armed insurrection.
The charges were brought late Friday night after Prigozhin accused Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and General Valery Gerasimov, the chair of the Russian general staff, of serious crimes.
Prigozhin claimed to have ordered troops loyal to him to move towards Rostov-on-Don, a major city in southern Russia. Security measures were also reportedly beefed up in Moscow.
24 June 2023
- 13:05 GMT: Russia’s closest ally, Belarus, condemned the mutiny, with the country’s security council stating that Minsk remains committed to standing with Russia and fully supports the ongoing military operation in Ukraine. The council also branded the attempted coup a “gift to the collective West.”
- 12:45 GMT: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin press service said.“The Russian President briefed [Erdogan] on the situation in the country amid the attempted armed insurrection. Türkiye’s President expressed his full support towards the steps taken by the Russian leadership,” the press service said in a statement.
- 12:32 GMT: Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) chief Sergey Naryshkin denounced the ongoing coup as “treason,” branding it “the most terrible crime, which cannot be justified by any past merits.” Meanwhile, he said that the attempt to spark a “civil war” in the country has already failed, with Russian society demonstrating “civic maturity.”
- 11:43 GMT: A loud explosion has been heard in the vicinity of the headquarters of the Russian southern military district in Rostov-on-Don, RT correspondent Roman Kosarev, covering the coup attempt, reported on Saturday.He posted a one-minute clip on social media showing a crowd of people running away from where the blast apparently occurred. There has been no immediate data on casualties, or whether the building sustained any damage.
- 11:11 GMT: Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said, “the most important thing for defeating the external and internal enemy who is hungry to tear our Motherland into shreds… is to unite around the president and supreme commander of the armed forces.”
“Split and betrayal lead to the greatest tragedy, to a universal disaster,” he warned in a post on Telegram, vowing that the Russian authorities will not let this happen.
- 10:40 GMT: The head of Russia’s Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, called the insurrection by Wagner’s chief a “hideous betrayal” adding that it should be quelled in order to protect the nation’s unity amid the conflict in Ukraine.Chechen members of the Defense Ministry and the National Guard have already headed out to the regions where tensions are high. “The insurrection must be quelled, and if harsh measures are required, we are ready for them!” he stated in a post on Telegram.
- 08:56 GMT: Voronezh Governor Alexander Gusev said the Russian military is “carrying out the necessary operational and combat measures” in the region as part of the ongoing counter-terrorism operation, without providing further details.
- 08:15 GMT: St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov said that the situation in the city, which is a home to the Wagner Center HQ, remains stable, with increased security measures put in place. He also noted that “lawful actions of law enforcement agents, including those in the Wagner Center building, have no impact on the ongoing activities in the city,” apparently referring to earlier reports that operatives were conducting searches there.
- 07:54 GMT: The situation in Rostov-on-Don is tense but with no disorder, a Ria Novosti correspondent reports from the scene. Earlier in the day, several media outlets shared clips of tanks moving around the city, with unidentified soldiers patrolling the streets.
- 07:11 GMT: All who consciously stick to the way of treason will receive imminent punishment, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his address to the nation. He added that the country’s armed forces have been given all necessary orders.