A criminal investigation has been opened into Evgeny Prigozhin for calling for an armed rebellion
Russian President Vladimir Putin has delivered an address to the nation amid a coup attempt by the private military company Wagner. He described the mutineers’ actions as “
backstabbing” and called for unity.
Late on Friday, PMC Wagner boss Evgeny Prigozhin accused the Russian military of striking his group’s base – something the Defense Ministry has strongly denied.
Russian authorities, in turn, have launched a criminal investigation into Prigozhin over staging an armed insurrection.
Importance of unity
President Putin argued that “
Russia is today waging a grueling fight for its future,” facing off with the “ neo-Nazis and their masters.” He went on to stress that “ essentially the entire might of the West’s military, economic and information machine” is being directed against the country. “ This battle, when the fate of our people is being decided,” calls for national unity and consolidation, Putin said in his address. According to the president, all internal conflicts and bickering must be put aside at present as “ our external enemies can and use them to undermine us internally.”
The Russian head of state emphasized that any actions driving a wedge between Russians are nothing short of “
backstabbing of our country and our people.” Bitter history lessons
Putin reminded Russians that a similar scenario played out in the country in 1917, when it was in the middle of World War I. He recounted how “
intrigues, bickering, politicking behind the army’s and the people’s back” led to the “ collapse of the state,” and the “ tragedy of the Civil War.”
Russians were killing Russians, brothers were killing brothers, while various political adventurers and foreign powers were capitalizing on it,” the president said.
Putin vowed to prevent this from happening as well as to defend Russia and its people, “
including from internal mutiny.” Nature of the threat
In his address, Putin clearly labelled the PMC coup attempt as a “
betrayal.” He cited “ enormous ambitions and personal interests” of certain individuals as the reasons behind this “ betrayal of their country and its people.” He went on to accuse those responsible, without naming Prigozhin in particular, of turning their back on the joint military cause in Ukraine and the memory of the fallen fighters.
If successful, the coup would lead to “
anarchy and fratricide,” resulting, in the long run, in Russia’s “ defeat” and “ capitulation,” according to Putin.
The president characterized “
any internal mutiny” as a death threat to the Russian state and nation. The president pledged to take “ tough measures” against the mutineers, who have “ willingly entered the path of betrayal” and prepared “ armed insurrection.”
Those responsible will be brought to account before the Russian people, the president assured the public.
All the necessary orders have been issued to the armed forces and other authorities,” Putin revealed. He added that a special anti-terrorist security protocol had been enacted in Moscow, Moscow Region and several other locations.
The Russian president acknowledged that the situation in Rostov-on-Don, southern Russia, remains “
difficult,” with the functioning of local civil and military authorities being “ effectively blocked.” However, the state will take “ decisive actions to stabilize” the situation in the city.
Concluding his address to the nation, President Putin promised to do everything he could to defend the “
country, [and] defend the constitutional order, life, security and liberty of citizens.”
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