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Putin vows to crush Prigozhin uprising advancing on Moscow

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Vladimir Putin has vowed to crush an armed rebel led by the warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin, describing the insurgent militia making their means in direction of Moscow as a treasonous “stab within the again”.

The Russian president labelled the primary coup try in three a long time as a “lethal menace to our statehood” and in contrast it with the 1917 revolution that led to the collapse of imperial Russia.

He stated he had given “vital orders” to sort out the Wagner paramilitary group and for “decisive measures” to recapture the southern Russian metropolis of Rostov from the militia.

Russian navy helicopters fired on a convoy of Wagner troops and armoured automobiles, together with tanks, rumbling north alongside a freeway in direction of the capital, in keeping with unverified movies printed on social media.

The convoy, which additionally seems to include cell air defence techniques, superior steadily from Rostov in direction of Moscow regardless of “fight operations” by common armed forces, and within the early night of Saturday was about 350km from the capital’s outer ring street, the place Russian troops have arrange checkpoints.

If the convoy is ready to advance with out hindrance, it might attain Moscow earlier than midnight native time.

Native residents of cities alongside the route reported that some roads and bridges had been closed. Diggers have been noticed excavating holes in the midst of a number of motorways in a bid to sluggish the convoy’s advance, in keeping with footage on social media.

The insurgency is essentially the most severe menace to Putin’s decades-long rule, and comes after months of public infighting between Prigozhin and the nation’s armed forces.

“Prigozhin’s mutiny is the best problem up to now of the rule of Vladimir Putin,” stated Andrius Tursa, jap Europe analyst at Teneo. “Even when the mutiny fails, the disaster occasions will solely exacerbate perceptions of the regime’s weak point.”

Wagner’s speedy advance sparked an emergency name between G7 nations who agreed “to co-ordinate intently”, and enhanced safety measures in Nato international locations bordering Russia, which possesses one of many world’s largest nuclear arsenals.

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Russia’s international ministry warned western international locations in opposition to searching for to take advantage of the mutiny “to attain their Russophobic targets”.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, president of Nato member Turkey, spoke with Putin on Saturday afternoon. He harassed the significance of appearing “rationally and sensibly”, and stated “no one ought to reap the benefits of the occasions in Russia”, in keeping with the Turkish authorities.

In Kyiv, the disaster was a “window of alternative” for its forces to push forward with a counteroffensive to liberate territory occupied by Russian troops, stated Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister. She added that the choice to invade Ukraine had triggered “the inevitable degradation of the Russian state”.

Putin’s pledge on Saturday to crush the tried coup got here hours after Prigozhin introduced he had “blockaded” Rostov and the headquarters of Russia’s navy command centre, liable for Ukraine operations, as armed, masked males with tanks and armoured automobiles surrounded authorities buildings.

Vladimir Putin: ‘What we’re coping with is treason’ © Russian Presidential Press Service/AP

Putin’s grave tackle, which didn’t point out Prigozhin by identify however accused his organisation of “blackmail and terrorist strategies”, suggests the president has left no room for compromise along with his former acolyte. “What we’re coping with is treason. Unchecked ambitions and private pursuits have led to betrayal of our nation and our individuals,” Putin stated.

Prigozhin issued a defiant response, saying his Wagner pressure not needed to stay “beneath corruption, lies, and paperwork”.

Sixteen months of struggle in opposition to Ukraine has hamstrung Russia’s financial system due to a barrage of western sanctions and an exodus of international capital. The battle has price tens of 1000’s of lives and created a harmful patchwork of competing militias and safety forces.

Video description

Prigozhin walks into the Rostov navy headquarters in southern Russia

Prigozhin walks into the Rostov navy headquarters in southern Russia © Eyepress/Reuters

Prigozhin walks into the Rostov navy headquarters in southern Russia

In an audio message launched by his press service, Prigozhin added: “With regards to betraying the motherland, the president is deeply mistaken. We’re patriots of our motherland. We . . . will combat on.”

Sergei Naryshkin, the top of Russia’s international intelligence service, stated Prigozhin’s rebellion was “essentially the most horrible crime” and urged residents to rally across the president.

Earlier on Saturday, Prigozhin was filmed strolling into the Rostov navy headquarters earlier than ranting at a deputy defence minister and a senior normal about his try to oust the military’s management.

The extraordinary determination to launch a motorised assault on Moscow was a part of what Prigozhin stated was a “march of justice” in opposition to defence minister Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, commander of Russia’s invasion forces, whom he has accused of mishandling the Ukraine invasion.

“We would like [Gerasimov] and Shoigu. Till they’re right here, we’ll keep, blockade Rostov and head to Moscow,” Prigozhin advised deputy defence minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Vladimir Alekseyev, deputy head of Russian navy intelligence. “We’re saving Russia.” Prigozhin claimed Wagner had opened hearth on Russian forces and shot down three military helicopters.

Putin acknowledged the state of affairs in Rostov was “difficult” with “the work of civil and navy command is actually blockaded”. However he stated safety forces had been ordered to “stabilise” town.

The president additionally stated he had ordered “further measures of an anti-terrorist nature” in Moscow and “a number of different areas”. The step basically places the FSB, Russia’s fundamental safety service, accountable for the areas and provides them the proper to detain, raid and use pressure.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s president, stated the occasions had laid naked “Russia’s weak point”.

“The longer Russia retains its troops and mercenaries on our land, the extra chaos, ache and issues it’ll have for itself later,” he tweeted. “Everybody who chooses the trail of evil destroys himself.”