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FSB launches criminal case against Wagner chief as Russia’s top brass implore mercenaries not to rebel

Prigozhin, owner of the Wagner Group of mercenaries, putting on a mean face as he berates rivals in the Russian Defense Ministry. Screenshot from video
FSB launches criminal case against Wagner chief as Russia’s top brass implore mercenaries not to rebel

Russia’s Federal Security Service has launched a criminal case against Wagner financier Yevgeny Prigozhin for “calling for an armed insurreection.” The FSB denied Prigozhin’s accusations that the Russian Army had launched a missile attack against his PMC, calling them an “information provocation”:

“Prigozhin’s statements are actually calls to start an armed civil conflict on the territory of the Russian Federation, and his actions are a ‘stab in the back’ to the Russian servicemen fighting with the pro-fascist Ukrainian forces. Due to the seriousness of the situation and the threat of escalation of confrontation in our country, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case on the fact of the call for armed insurrection by Evgeny Prigozhin.

We urge the PMC fighters not to make irreparable mistakes, to stop any forceful actions against the Russian people, not to carry out the criminal and traitorous orders of Prigozhin, to take measures to detain him,” the FSB posted.

In addition, Russia’s top brass addressed Wagner fighters, urging them to disobey Prigozhin.

Sergei Surovikin, the Commander of Russia’s Joint Group of Forces invading Ukraine, urged them to solve problems “by peaceful means”:

“I have just arrived from the front line, on the order of the head of the Russian Ministry of Defense. I am standing on the front line, where our troops, our commanders, our soldiers, our volunteers are fighting with the enemy to the death, with the superior forces of the enemy. They are suffering losses, but they are standing on their positions.

I appeal to the leadership, commanders, and soldiers of the PMC Wagner. We have gone through a difficult and arduous path together with you. We fought together with you, took risks, suffered losses, we won together. We are of the same blood, we are warriors.

I urge you to stop. The enemy is just waiting for the internal political situation to worsen. We cannot play into the hands of the enemy in these difficult times for the country. It is not too late, it is necessary and must be done. It is necessary to obey the will and order of the elected President of the Russian Federation.

We must stop the columns, return them to their positions in the dislocation and the areas of conflict. We must solve all problems only by peaceful means under the leadership of the Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces.”

The first deputy head of Russia’s General Staff directorate Vladimir Alekseev also implored Wagnerites to stop:

From the very first day of the organization’s existence, I have been carrying out combat tasks with you. 2014, 2015, 2016. I am still actively involved. I have immense respect for many of the fighters and commanders of this private military company, who carry out serious tasks in the interests of our state.

But what is happening now is a glaring fact, which I can only explain as insanity with no other words. Our country is in a very difficult situation now. When the entire Western world has risen against us, when ammunition and weapons are coming from all over the world, such things, which you are now starting to implement with someone’s provocative idea, will lead to huge losses. And huge losses, primarily political.

Imagine how the West will warmly welcome what you are trying to do now. Whatever your intentions are now, noble perhaps, as explained to you, it’s a stab in the back to the country and the president. Only the president has the right to appoint the highest commanding ranks of the armed forces, and you are trying to encroach on his power. This is a coup d’état.

I beg you, think it over. You don’t need to do this now, because a greater blow to the image of Russia, to its armed forces, is impossible to conceive right now. Such a provocation could only have been made by enemies of the Russian Federation. I ask you to stop now.

There has been and will be no use of force by the armed forces against your units. It will not happen. The last thing we need now is to ignite a civil war within the country. Think it over.”

On 23 June, Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner mercenary group instrumental to Russia’s war against Ukraine, vowed to “stop” Moscow’s top military leadership and called on Russians not to resist his forces in response to an alleged missile strike on the rear of his forces.

“We are 25,000 strong, and we are going to figure out why chaos is happening in Russia,” Prigozhin announced on Telegram. “Everyone else is free to join us,” he said.

“It is not a military coup, it is a march for justice. Our actions in no way will hinder the troops.”

Wagner chief announces “march for justice” after alleged Russian strike on mercenary troops (UPDATES)


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