Wagner Group, the private military company that’s fought alongside Russian forces in Ukraine, is reportedly engaged in an attempted “coup” against the Russian government and its military command. Video footage and on-the-ground reports suggest that Wagner Group fighters are occupying parts of the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, the capital of the Rostov region, and that the Russian military is moving to stop them. Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed his nation in a televised statement, accusing Wagner Group of betrayal while suggesting that the group’s leadership is being deceived and exploited by foreign powers. The unrest comes after Wagner Group’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin spoke out against the Russian war effort and accused Russian military forces of striking his men’s encampment with artillery, a claim that Russian leadership vehemently denies. Several sources have suggested that the “coup” attempt is being backed by the CIA, much like Ukraine’s 2014 “revolution.”
Putin told the people of Russia in a nationally-televised address that Russian sovereignty will be defended, and accused Wagner Group and its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, of “betrayal.”
“All the necessary orders have been issued to the armed forces and other authorities,” said Putin, calling the attempted insurrection a “stab in the back.”
He compared the unrest to the 1917 Bolshevik revolt that came in the closing days of Russia’s involvement in World War 1 and was supported by foreign powers and international interest groups. That revolt led to the collapse of Russia and the founding of the Soviet Union.
“Russians were killing Russians, brothers were killing brothers, while various political adventurers and foreign powers were capitalizing on it,” Putin said, drawing historical comparisons to the ongoing situation.
Adding credence to Putin’s claims of foreign interference, pro-Ukrainian neo-Nazis have come out in support of the apparent coup.
While sporadic reports have suggested that Putin has been evacuated from the capital city of Moscow, where military blockades are being set up, a Kremlin spokesman says that Putin remains in the capital.
Watch Putin’s address to the Russian People below:
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the apparent coup attempt by Wagner.
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