Crisis in Russia

The Russian president promised to take action after a Russian mercenary leader claimed he controlled a military headquarters in southern Russia.

Crisis in Russia

The events unfolded quickly:

Prigozhin stepped-up his criticisms of Russian military in social media videos yesterday. He claimed that Russian troops attacked Wagner's encampments, killing 'a large number of fighters'. He could not verify his claims, but promised to send soldiers into Russia as a retaliation.

Videos showed tanks driving through the streets of Rostov and troops believed to be Wagner forces surrounding the military headquarters. Soldiers could also be seen at other important locations, such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the region.

Videos posted online show signs of fighting near the western Russian town of Voronezh. These include helicopters, a truck destroyed on the road, and other evidence. According to reports, Wagner fighters have entered the area.

Prigozhin announced that his forces would be heading to Moscow. He said, 'We're going further'. We will reach the end.

Russia deployed armored vehicles on the streets in Rostov-on-Don and Moscow, and moved convoys of military gear on a major highway connecting the two cities.

The raid on the Wagner building in St. Petersburg by Russian security forces was also reported.

Putin promised to'stabilize the situation in Rostov on Don' Wagner's actions were also described by him as treasonous and armed rebellion. Prigozhin denied the accusations.

Key figures

Prigozhin has been complaining about the Russian military brass for months, but his recent accusations are a major change. Prigozhin, a Russian businessman, became wealthy through his ties with Putin. He won lucrative government contracts and built the Wagner mercenary forces. Anton Troianovski, The Times Moscow bureau chief has more information about him.

Putin's quick public speech was a sign that the situation is serious. Steven Lee Myers, The Times reporter, wrote that Putin prefers to exercise power behind the scene until the outcome of the situation is clear. Putin acknowledged Prigozhin's success, saying that Rostov's functioning, a city with a population of a half-million, was 'basically blocked'.

Generals: Prigozhin’s feud with Russian generals arose from the battle for Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, which his troops led on the Russians’ side. He accused both the Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu and the country’s top general Valery Gerasimov of treason. He claimed that they intentionally withheld supplies and ammunition from Wagner, while their soldiers failed in war after war.

Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine: "Russia's weaknesses are obvious." His country is still engulfed in violence. Today, Russian forces launched more than 20 missiles into Kyiv killing at least 3 people.

What's Next

The British military called the crisis the'most important challenge for the Russian state since recent times'. They said that the loyalties of Russia's security services, especially the Russian National Guard will determine how the crisis unfolds.