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Prigozhin claims control over Rostov amid “march for justice”

PMC Wagner financier Prigozhin in Rostov. Screenshot from video
Prigozhin claims control over Rostov amid “march for justice”

In the morning of 24 June, Wagner financier Prigozhin claimed control over military objects in Rostov-on-Don, a city that serves as the headquarters for Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine, stating that the Chief of General Staff ran away when he saw Wagner fighters approaching. In a video shared on his TG channel, the leader of Russia’s key invasion unit claimed Russia’s losses in the war against Ukraine are far greater than reported. At the same time, he claimed that airplanes to strike Ukraine are departing as usual:

“We are at the headquarters, 7:30 in the morning, military facilities in Rostov are under control, including the airfield. Planes leaving for combat work are operating as usual, there are no problems at all. Medical flights are departing, there are no issues.

All that’s being done, we took control to prevent attack aircraft from striking us and instead hit the Ukrainians. The main control headquarters, the main control point operates in regular mode, there are no issues, not a single officer is detached.

So, when they tell you that the Wagner PMC has interfered with operations, and therefore something has gone wrong at the front, it’s not because of that. When we arrived here, we confirmed much more once again. A vast amount of territory has been lost.

The number of soldiers killed is 3-4 times higher than the number reported in the documents. And what is reported is ten times less than what is said on TV. Medical losses per day amount to up to 1000 people on some days.

These are the killed, missing, wounded, and the so-called deserters, who refuse not because they are cowards, as I’ve already said, but because they have no way out, no ammunition, no control.

The Chief of the General Staff ran away from here as soon as he learned that we were approaching the building.”

In another audio intercept, he claimed that the Russian National Guardsmen and police sent to quell the rebellion “wave their hands cheerfully” and “60-70 people” have joined the Wagner columns that are allegedly marching on Moscow.

“I think half the army is ready to come with us,” Prigozhin said, acknowledging that some skirmishes do happen between his troops and the forces Russia sent to stop them.

A counterterrorist operation was imposed in Moscow and the Moscow Oblast, Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee said.

Wagner equipment on the streets of Rostov-on-Don. Photos: TASS

According to the Rostov local news site 161RU, as of 5:20 “unknown men in camouflage” cordoned off the following buildings: Southern Military District HQ, Police office on Budennovsky Ave, Internal Affairs Ministry HQ, FSB office, and city administration.

The outlet shared videos of Wagner’s military equipment in the city:

In the night, Prigozhin claimed that Wagner shot down a Russian MoD helicopter that opened fire on a Wagner column amid civilian traffic. Confirmation for such activities has appeared in the post of an account claiming to belong to a former Russian fighter bomber pilot, in which he says that two Mi-8 helicopters were shot down, as well as a Mi-35 helicopter.

In the night of 23 June, Yevgeny Prigozhin accused the Russian MoD of striking a Wagner camp and announced a “march for justice,” vowing to “stop” Moscow’s top military leadership.

Russia’s official bodies denied any accusations of a strike on Wagner’s rear; the Russian FSB opened a criminal case against Prigozhin and Russia’s top brass called upon Wagner fighters to defy Prigozhin’s orders.

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

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

A conflict between Prigozhin and the Russian MoD has been months in the making, and Russian military leaders have sought to limit the role of the leader of Wagner, a private military company that has played a key role in Russia’s assault on Ukrainian cities.

Prigozhin had defied a demand by Russian Defense Ministry that Wagner Group members sign contracts directly, highlighting a deepening conflict within the Russian establishment. Instead, Prigozhin drafted his own “contract” and said he was awaiting an answer from Russia’s military leadership for it. Meanwhile, the deadline for the volunteer fighters to sign contracts with the MoD, 1 July, “is likely to be a key way-point in the feud,” the British intelligence assessed.

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