'Putin made wrong choice… Russia will have new president soon': Wagner Group | World News - Hindustan Times

'Vladimir Putin made wrong choice… Russia will have new president soon', says Wagner Group

Jun 24, 2023 02:27 PM IST

Russia coup, Wagner Group: The head of the Wagner Group, a private army, has vowed to topple Russia's military leadership and its fighters are moving to Moscow.

Moments after Vladimir Putin vowed to crush the armed rebellion by mercenaries, the Wagner Group reportedly said the Russian president made the wrong choice during his speech and that the country will soon have a new premier. The mercenaries, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, have claimed control of two Russian cities in their bid to oust the nation's military leadership and claims to have also downed three military helicopters. The rebel group also said it had faced little resistance from the National Guard as it advances.

Owner of the Wagner private military contractor Yevgeny Prigozhin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AP)
Owner of the Wagner private military contractor Yevgeny Prigozhin and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AP)

In an address to the nation, a visibly miffed Putin said the armed mutiny by Wagner mercenaries was a 'stab in the back' and that the group's chief, Prigozhin, had 'betrayed' Russia.

READ | 'Treachery': Putin slams Wagner, warns of 'brutal action' against rebels

"This is a stab in the back to our country, to our nation," Putin said in an address to the nation. "What we have been faced with is exactly betrayal. Extravagant ambitions and personal interests led to treason," Putin said referring to Prigozhin.

READ | '25,000 of us...': Mercenary leader vows to destroy Putin. Russia reacts

"All those who consciously stood on the path of betrayal, who prepared an armed rebellion, stood on the path of blackmail and terrorist methods, will suffer inevitable punishment, before the law and before our people," he added.

Follow LIVE updates on coup attempt in Russia

Putin condemned the rebellion at a time when Russia is 'fighting the toughest battle for its future' - a reference to the illegal war in Ukraine. "The entire military, economic and information machine of the West is waged against us."

"This battle, when the fate of our people is being decided, requires the unification of all forces, unity, consolidation and responsibility." An armed rebellion at a time like this is 'a blow to Russia, to its people', the president said.

READ | Who is Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin?

"Those who plotted and organised an armed rebellion, who raised arms against his comrades-in-arms, betrayed Russia. And they will answer for it," Putin said.

(With agency inputs)

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