Putin Orders Military to Crush Wagner Mercenary Group’s Attempted Coup

[Photo Credit: By Presidential Executive Office of Russia - http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/70098/photos Presidential Executive Office of Russia, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=126725963]

After taking over a military command center in Rostov, a city in southern Russia some 600 miles from Moscow, the Wagner paramilitary organization reportedly deployed men toward the capitol on Saturday. In what now appears to be a direct attempt to topple the Russian government.

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, referred to the actions as an armed insurrection and urged his soldiers to put an end to what he called a treasonous act.

Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner mercenary group, who is now the target of an arrest warrant on mutiny-related charges, said on Friday that the Russian military had killed “an enormous amount” of his soldiers during attacks on Wagner camps, a claim Moscow refuted.

Prigozhin provided no solid evidence to back up his allegations.

On Saturday, as Wagner troops approached Moscow, Russian planes struck them in the Voronezh area, almost 300 miles away.

Videos from the scene showed the major fuel storage for the city of Voronezh on fire, a Ka-52 helicopter crashing into a car, and another helicopter just missing being hit by a Wagner antiaircraft missile.

At least one Russian aircraft was also reportedly shot down.

Russia’s current crisis signifies the greatest threat to Putin’s 23-year reign and could potentially lead to a number of outcomes, including a change in government or even outright civil war.

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