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Putin Orders Military Action Against Paramilitary Group Wagner

Russian military helicopters open fire on Wagner convoy after group seizes southern city, prompting Putin's vow to defend Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to defend Russia. He ordered his military to act against the Wagner paramilitary group, which is led by mercenary chiefYevgeny Prigozhin, that seized the southern Russian city of Rostov.

Russian military helicopters opened fire on a convoy of rebel mercenaries that was already more than halfway towards Moscow  after it had seized a southern city overnight, reported Reuters. 

“All those who deliberately stepped on the path of betrayal, who prepared an armed insurrection, who took the path of blackmail and terrorist methods, will suffer inevitable punishment, will answer both to the law and to our people,” Putin said. 

Members of Wagner group sit on the sidewalk as they patrol the center of Rostov-on-Don, on June 24, 2023. President Vladimir Putin on June 24, 2023 said an armed mutiny by Wagner mercenaries was a “stab in the back” and that the group’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin had betrayed Russia, as he vowed to punish the dissidents. Prigozhin said his fighters control key military sites in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don.PHOTO BY STRINGER/GETTY IMAGES

“The president makes a big mistake when he talks about treason. We are patriots of our motherland; we fought and are fighting for it,” Prigozhin said in response via an audio message. “We don’t want the country to continue to live in corruption and deceit.”

Fighters from the Wagner militia were rapidly advancing northwards through western Russia after seizing Rostov-on-Don, a city of more than a million people close to the border with Ukraine.

In Rostov, residents were filming on mobile phones as Wagner fighters in armored vehicles and battle tanks took up positions.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday in a social media message that “Russia’s weakness is obvious. Full-scale weakness, and the longer Russia keeps its troops and mercenaries on our land, the more chaos, pain, and problems it will have for itself later.”



Produced in association with Benzinga

Edited by Asad Ali and Saba Fatima

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