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Live updates | Armed uprising of the Russian mercenary commander


The latest information on the armed rebellion stated by the commander of Russian mercenaries Yevgeny Prigozhin:

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zekenskyy said it was clear that Russia was suffering “total weakness” after mercenary commander Yevgeny Prigozhin launched an armed uprising.

Zelenskyy said in comments posted on his Telegram channel on Saturday that “anyone who chooses the path of evil destroys himself”.

“For a long time, Russia has used propaganda to cover up the weakness and stupidity of the government,” he said. And now there’s so much chaos that no lie can hide.”

“Russia’s weakness is obvious. Total weakness,” said Zelenskyy. “And the longer Russia keeps its army and mercenaries on our land, the more chaos, pain and trouble they will have for themselves later on. This is also obvious.”

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS:

Putin calls the armed uprising of the mercenary leader a betrayal and promises to protect Russia

Who is the leader of a group of mercenaries calling for an armed uprising in Russia?

Follow AP news on the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she was following events in Russia and they emphasized “how aggression against Ukraine is causing instability in the Russian Federation.”

Meloni said in comments to reporters in Austria late Saturday that the situation in Russia is difficult to assess.

She said that “it’s a very chaotic situation inside the Russian Federation, that doesn’t match up with some of the propaganda we’ve seen in recent months.”

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Russian mercenary leader Yevgheny Prigozhin on Saturday denied President Vladimir Putin’s accusations that he was betraying his country and called his fighters patriots.

In an audio message on his Telegram channel, the head of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said: “Regarding the betrayal of the motherland, the president is deeply mistaken. We are patriots of our homeland.”

He said his fighters would not surrender at Putin’s request, because “we don’t want the country to live in corruption, deception and bureaucracy.”

Putin had said in a televised address to the nation on Saturday that “all those who prepare for the rebellion will be subject to inevitable punishment.” He said that “the armed forces and other government agencies have received the necessary orders.”

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Officials across Russia have rallied to support President Vladimir Putin, publicly reiterating their allegiance to the Kremlin and urging mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin to withdraw.

Vyacheslav Volodin, a spokesman for Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, said that lawmakers were “in favor of consolidating forces” and supported Putin after his speech to the nation on Saturday.

He added that fighters from Prigozhin’s Wagner group “must make the only right choice: stand with their people, side with the law, to protect the security and future of the Fatherland, obey by order of the Commander-in-Chief.”

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said in a Telegram post that “we have a commander-in-chief. Not two, not three. One. And he called on everyone to unite.”

Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, who had previously sided with Prigozhin in his criticism of the military leadership, also expressed full support for Putin’s “every word”. “The mutiny needs to be quelled,” he said.

So far, no Russian official has voiced support for Prigozhin.

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Unexpected support for mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s efforts came from exiled tycoon turned opposition leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Khodorkovsky said in a Facebook post that Prigozhin’s rebellion was “the biggest blow to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s reputation,” and that helping him get to Moscow would be “helping our country.” me”.

He said Prigozhin had “repeated word for word what we, the anti-war opposition, had said from the beginning of the war” – that “the purpose of the war was to steal” and that no one believed the official reason. of the war. in Ukraine.

Khodorkovsky wrote: “Help the devil, if he decides to go against this regime! Please help because there is no worse crime than waging a war of aggression. If one criminal is willing to interfere with another… we need help, and then, if needed, we deal with them.”

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An adviser to Ukraine’s president said that his country’s start of a counter-offensive “finally destabilized the Russian elite” and increased internal divisions.

Mykhailo Podolyak said on Saturday that events are “developing according to the scenario we talked about over the past year,” Ukraine’s Interfax news agency reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed on Saturday to defend the country from an armed uprising claimed by mercenary commander Yevgeny Prigozhin, which Putin called a “stab in the back” of Russia.

The uprising occurred as Kiev’s forces were probing Russian defenses in the early stages of a counteroffensive.

Podolyak said that “the beginning of the Ukrainian counterattack ultimately destabilized the Russian elite, increasing the internal divisions that arose after the defeat in Ukraine.”

He added: “Today we are truly witnessing the beginning of a civil war.”

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The British Ministry of Defense has described the armed uprising by the Wagner mercenary group as the biggest challenge facing the Russian state in recent times.

The ministry’s intelligence update released on Saturday said that the feud between Yevgeny Prigozhin’s group and the Russian state had “escalated into outright military confrontation”.

“In Rostov-on-Don, Wagner has almost certainly occupied key security sites, including the Command that operates Russia’s military operations in Ukraine,” the update said. “Other Wagner units are moving north through Voronezh Oblast, almost certainly aiming for Moscow.”

The update says there is little evidence of fighting between Wagner and Russian security forces.

“In the coming hours, the loyalty of Russian security forces, especially the Russian National Guard, will be key to how the crisis unfolds,” it wrote.

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A video appeared on Telegram on Saturday showing mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin meeting Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Deputy Chief of the General Staff Vladimir Alexeyev.

In the video, which cannot be independently verified, Prigozhin claims that he and his troops are “saving Russia” and demands that Russian authorities abandon Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

“We want the Chief of the General Staff and Shoigu,” said Prigozhin. “Until they are here, we are here, we are sealing off the city of Rostov and moving towards Moscow.”

Yevkurov and Alexeyev in the video tried to convince Prigozhin to withdraw his forces from Roston-on-Don, but to no avail.

Prigozhin, a billionaire with ties to the Kremlin, has a longstanding feud with the Russian military leadership.

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The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence service said the conflict between the Russian military leadership and mercenary commander Yevgeny Prigozhin was a “frontal clash between lies and truth.”

Kyrylo Budanov told Ukrainian television on Saturday that the conflict arose because of Prigozhin, whether “you like him or not, he mostly tells (the truth)” while the Russian Defense Ministry said “mostly” is a lie”.

He said the conflict “wasn’t fake.”

Budanov said that, while senior Defense Ministry officials spoke of the progress made by young and brave soldiers, Prigozhin pointed to miscalculations, poor equipment, lack of training and problems. other.

“This is a head-to-head clash between lies and truth,” he said. Although both are entirely working in the interests of the Russian Federation, we need to keep this in mind.”

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Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the nation on Saturday and vowed to protect the country and its people from the armed uprising announced by mercenary commander Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Putin said the mutiny was a “fatal threat to our status” and vowed to take “tough actions” in response. “All those who prepare to rebel will be subject to inevitable punishment. The armed forces and other government agencies have received the necessary orders,” Putin said.

He called Prigozhin’s actions, without mentioning the name of the owner of the private military company Wagner, “betrayal” and “betrayal”. He urges “those who are being embroiled in this crime not to make the fatal and tragic mistake that is unique, but to make the only right choice – to stop engaging in criminal acts.” “.

Putin condemned the uprising at a time when Russia is “fighting the hardest battle for its future” with the war in Ukraine. “The entire Western military, economic and information apparatus is working against us,” Putin said.

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