Russia accuses Wagner’s leader of rebellion, and orders his arrest
MOSCOW, June 24 (IANS) The Kremlin has ordered the arrest of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Wagner’s mercenary group, after Russian intelligence accused him of calling for an “armed rebellion”.
Late Friday night, the Federal Security Service (FSB) urged Wagner’s mercenaries to “stop the queues” and detain their commander after the latter vowed revenge for the Russian military’s killing of a “huge amount” of Wagner fighters during a raid on a camp earlier. per day, according to CNN.
Russian state television also cut programs on Friday night to quote a Defense Ministry statement claiming that Prigozhin’s remarks “do not correspond to reality” and demanded that he stop “illegal actions”.
In the wake of the developments, security has been stepped up around Moscow and in the city of Rostov near southeastern Ukraine, according to state media reports.
Earlier on Friday, Prigozhin claimed his forces had crossed into Russia from Ukraine, but he did not provide any evidence to support his claim, reports the BBC.
Tens or even tens of thousands of lives of Russian soldiers will be punished. I ask that no one resist.
He also said that the “evil” in the Russian military leadership must be stopped and vowed to “march for justice”, but Wagner’s chief made it clear that he was not attempting a military coup.
According to the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin is aware of the situation and is receiving “constant” updates.
Media reports said that since Russia launched its ongoing war against Ukraine in February 2022, there has been a power struggle between Prigozhin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Their battle initially centered around Bakhmut – while the regular Russian army struggled elsewhere, Wagner’s group managed to make gains.
Prigozhin used the success of his forces as an opportunity to build his profile and criticize the forces under Shoigu, reports the BBC.
He accused the Ministry of Defense of depriving his mercenaries of ammunition and even threatened to withdraw.
And when victories happened, both sides tried to take credit for it.
However, Prigozhin has always avoided criticizing President Putin.
In the hours leading up to the alleged attack on Camp Wagner, he posted more inflammatory comments on social media, accusing the Defense Ministry of deceiving Putin about the threat posed to Ukraine before his February 2022 invasion, CNN reports.
He also questioned the Russian motives for the war.