On Friday, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) opened a criminal case for inciting armed mutiny over statements made on behalf of the head of the Wagner Group private military company (PMC), Yevgeny Prigozhin.
The fate of the Russian nation is being decided right now, we need all forces to unit and set aside any differences, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday in a video address to the nation.
The Russian leader said he was addressing Russians, military, security agencies, those who have been pushed on path of armed mutiny by deceit and threats.
“I appeal to the citizens of Russia, to the personnel of the Armed Forces, law enforcement agencies and special services, to the fighters and commanders who are now fighting in their combat positions, repelling the enemy’s attacks and doing so heroically. I know that. Today I spoke again to the commanders of all lines. I also appeal to those who, through deception or threats, were drawn into this criminal adventure and pushed down the path of the grave crime of armed insurrection,” Putin said in his address.
“As President of Russia and Commander-in-Chief, as a citizen of Russia, I will do everything to defend the country, to protect the constitutional order, the lives, security and freedom of citizens,” the Russian leader added.
Check out key statements made by Putin during Saturday’s address:
Yevgeny Prigozhin’s coup attempt is a “betrayal” of Russia and Wagner heroes;
Putin says he spoke to the military commanders on all directions at night, the Army was fighting valiantly;
The Armed Forces and other state bodies have received the necessary orders, additional anti-terrorist measures are now being taken in Moscow, the Moscow Region and a number of other regions;
Any strife should be put aside during the special military operation when the fate of the people of Russia is being decided upon;
Excessive ambition and personal interests have led to betrayal, betrayal of Russia and the cause for which the fighters and commanders of the Wagner Group fought and died side by side with other units and detachments;
All those responsible for the attempted mutiny will suffer inevitable punishment and answer to the law and the people.
Wagner Chief’s Coup Attempt
Footage and audio attributed to the Wagner Group and its chief Yevgeny Prigozhin surfaced on social media on late Friday, accusing the Russian military of launching a “missile strike” on their camp. The voice attributed to Prigozhin appeared to call for the ouster of the Russian Army leadership.
The footage and audio were quickly picked up by Ukrainian and US state-funded media outlets that have been reporting extensively on Prigozhin’s criticism of Russian generals in recent weeks.
It’s worth noting that Wagner Group and Russian Army forces jointly participated in the battle of Artemovsk, also known as Bakhmut.
This joint operation resulted in the liberation of the Donbass city in late May, following eight months of intense fighting. The battle had significant implications as it pinned down large concentrations of Ukrainian troops, allowed Russia to train its mobilized reserves, and dealt a major blow to Kiev’s offensive plans.