Russia coup: Wagner ‘halts’ march on Moscow to ‘avoid bloodshed’. Top updates | World News - Hindustan Times
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Russia coup: Wagner group ‘halts’ march on Moscow to ‘avoid bloodshed’. Top updates

By | Edited by Aniruddha Dhar
Jun 24, 2023 11:31 PM IST

Wagner's Yevgeny Prigozhin vowed to overthrow Russian military as he charged the defence ministry of launching missile strikes against his group's forces.

Russian capital city Moscow suspended all mass events outdoor and at educational institutions till July 1 and declared Monday a 'non-working' day on Saturday evening. The measures came in response to the advancement of the Wagner group, a Russian paramilitary organisation led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has expressed intentions to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin and Moscow's military leadership. (Wagner group mutiny LIVE updates)

Fighters of Wagner private mercenary group cross a street as they get deployed near the headquarters of the Southern Military District in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, June 24, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY(REUTERS)
Fighters of Wagner private mercenary group cross a street as they get deployed near the headquarters of the Southern Military District in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, June 24, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY(REUTERS)

Prigozhin later said he has ordered his mercenaries to halt their march on Moscow and retreat to their field camps in Ukraine to avoid shedding Russian blood. The announcement from Yevgeny Prigozhin appeared to defuse a growing crisis. Moscow had braced for the arrival of the private army led by the rebellious commander. And President Vladimir Putin had vowed he would face harsh consequences.

The development amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, followed after the Wagner boss charged the Russian defence ministry of launching missile strikes against his group's forces. Although the feud between the group, which has spearheaded much of Russia's offensive in Ukraine and the Russian defence ministry dates back a few years, this offensive against the Russian brass exploded after the death of the Wagner fighters and over the defence ministry's demand seeking military contractors to sign contracts before July 1.

Also Read: Amid Wagner mutiny, Zelensky's ‘what goes around, comes around’ taunt to Putin

Top updates Russia coup:

1) The sources close to the separatist leadership in Russia's Donetsk province informed news agency Reuters that the Wagner convoy approaching Moscow, reportedly consists of approximately 5,000 fighters. Earlier, launching a rebellion, Prigozhin released a message in the morning, saying the attempt to overthrow Moscow leadership is “not a military coup, but a march of justice” for his forces. "We need to put an end to this mess," he said.

2)Wagner's threat poses the first serious challenge to Putin's long 23-year rule, which could face irreparable damages in the wake of events, analysts said. With key cities in its capture, including Rostov which serves as the operational hub for Moscow's forces in Ukraine, the group is barreling towards Moscow, prompting the city authorities to launch a counter-terrorism operation. The operation allows authorities to tighten security, impose curbs on traffic and communications, and to conduct searches without warrants.

Also Read: Explained: Wagner Group coup against Putin, Russian military leadership

3)Earlier, Putin addressed the nation on the rebellion call and termed it a ‘stab in the back’ of Russia. To this, the Wagner head has responded saying the Russian president made “a wrong choice during his speech and that the country will soon have a new president.”

4)Meanwhile, the Ukrainian watches the mutiny unfolding with delight as its forces launched several new offensives on their eastern front, to confront Russian troops in the Donbas region, and claimed more ground, the country's ministry said Saturday. The gains are an added headache for Russia, which earlier urged Wagner to halt its efforts, raising concern over Ukraine's ability to exploit the internal discord.

5)The West is closely monitoring the developments as the White House said the United States President Joe Biden spoke with the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom as the mercenaries headed towards Moscow. The leader reaffirmed their support for Ukraine during the conversation but the US said it was wary of weighing in further on the situation and "wanted to avoid any comment that could be misconstrued to suggest the US was taking a side in the apparently internal conflict.”

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