Wagner's mutiny has 'no excuse': Chechen leader
Evgeny Prigozhin is called a "traitor", and Ramzan Kadyrov vows to do all in his power to restore order.
According to Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the Chechen Republic, Evgeny Prigozhin's mutiny is a "hideous betrayal" and needs to be put down in order to preserve Russian unity during the conflict in Ukraine.
The Chechen leader harshly criticized the leader of the private military firm in a Telegram post on Saturday, calling his actions "a knife in the back" and "a real military mutiny."
According to Kadyrov, an armed conflict is not the right time for personal grudges. He said, "The rear should always be safe and secure," asking to "imagine what the guys in the trenches feel now, with their face to the enemy and with their back to a treacherous gamble."
Wagner's conduct, the Chechen leader continued, could only have "bloody consequences".
In addition, Kadyrov reaffirmed his unwavering support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had earlier branded Prigozhin's mutiny "a stab in the back" and urged for national harmony.
As Russia's top commander, Putin has a comprehensive understanding of the situation in the dispute with Kiev and was quite correct to characterize the unrest as "a military mutiny," according to Kadyrov. Such actions have "no excuse".
The Chechen commander continued to address Russian servicemen, pleading with them "not to fall into provocative acts," warning that Moscow's foreign foes are already taking advantage of the uprising.
Kadyrov said representatives of the Chechen Defense Ministry and the National Guard have already arrived in the areas where tensions are at their highest. The revolt had to be put down, and if severe means were necessary, "we are ready for them," he declared.
Prigozhin claimed that there were numerous casualties from a missile strike that the Russian Defense Ministry allegedly launched on a Wagner camp on Friday. The charge was rejected by the Ministry, and a criminal investigation of the Wagner leader was started because of the alleged mutiny plot.
Earlier on Saturday, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin announced on his Telegram channel storming the Rostov region and taking over the military headquarters in response to what he claims was a Russian attack on his troops earlier under the orders of the Defense Ministry.
Due to the developing events, Moscow canceled all public events as the PMC came just 6 hours away from the Russian capital amid continued advancements, while Russian security units stormed Wanger's headquarters in St. Petersburg.
Prigozhin called on the group's supporters inside the Russian Federation to join his movement and rebel against Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, as well as the Chief of Staff and commander of the military operations in Ukraine Army General Valery Gerasimov.
The head of Wagner said he would only withdraw if Shoigu resigned. Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry rejected his claims of an airstrike targeting his forces.
UK Intelligence says Wagner will 'certainly' intend to reach Moscow
British intelligence said on Saturday that Wagner PMC intends to continue advancing toward Moscow and that the next few hours will determine how the events will develop, Russian Interfax reported.
The private paramilitary group will "almost certainly pursue the goal of reaching Moscow."
The UK's intelligence branch described the event as the "most significant challenge" that Russia has come against in recent times.
"Over the coming hours, the loyalty of Russia’s security forces, and especially the Russian National Guard, will be key to how the crisis plays out. This represents the most significant challenge to the Russian state in recent times," the UK Defense Ministry posted on Twitter citing the intelligence report.
[5/5] Over the coming hours, the loyalty of Russia’s security forces, and especially the Russian National Guard, will be key to how the crisis plays out. This represents the most significant challenge to the Russian state in recent times.— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) June 24, 2023
"Further Wagner units are moving north through Vorenezh Oblast, almost certainly aiming to get to Moscow. With very limited evidence of fighting between Wagner and Russian security forces, some have likely remained passive, acquiescing to Wagner," the Ministry claimed.