Helen Regan</a> and <a href=https://edition.cnn.com/europe/live-news/russia-ukraine-war-news-06-24-23/"/profiles/andrew-raine">Andrew Raine</a>, CNN"/>Helen Regan</a> and <a href=https://edition.cnn.com/europe/live-news/russia-ukraine-war-news-06-24-23/"/profiles/andrew-raine">Andrew Raine</a>, CNN"/>
Russian President Putin says those on a path of treason or preparing armed rebellion will be punished
Russian President Vladimir Putin appealed to Wagner forces in an address Saturday.
"I appeal to those pushed into the provocation of a military rebellion," he said.
Putin added that at this time, "we require unity, consolidation, and responsibility."
"Those who carry deliberately on a path of treason, preparing an armed rebellion when you were preparing terrorist attacks, will be punished," Putin said.
The Russian President said, "any internal turmoil is a deadly threat to our statehood for us as a nation; it is a blow to Russia for our people and our actions to protect our homeland. Such a threat will face a severe response."
11 min ago
Wagner chief claims to have seized control of key military facilities in 2 Russian cities. Here's the latest
The simmering conflict between Moscow’s military leadership and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the bombastic chief of private mercenary group Wagner, has dramatically escalated into an open insurrection that plunges Russia into renewed uncertainty.
Moscow's mayor said the capital is reinforcing security as Prigozhin claimed to have seized control of key military facilities in the Russian cities of Rostov and Voronezh Saturday.
Here's the latest:
Wagner claims control in Rostov: Prigozhin said in a video he is in Rostov-on-Don, in southern Russia close to the Ukraine border, and that his forces have control of military facilities and the airfield there. He pledged to blockade Rostov and move on to Moscow if Russia's Defense Minister and top general did not meet with him in the city, where Russia’s Southern Military District is headquartered.He said his men are not stopping the officers from carrying out their duties. It comes after Prigozhin said his fighters were entering the Rostov region on Friday and that Russian Guards and military police have joined the Wagner group. CNN cannot independently verify his claims. Videos circulating on social media and geolocated to Rostov city show military vehicles on the streets and helicopters over the city Saturday morning. It is currently unclear whose command the vehicles are under the control of.
Claims of control in Voronezh: The Wagner group later said it had taken control of Russian military facilities in the city of Voronezh, in southwestern Russia, saying "the army switches to the side of the people." Earlier, the governor of Voronezh oblast said that "a convoy of military equipment is moving along the M-4 Don Federal Highway." The M-4 is a highway connecting Voronezh and Rostov-on-Don. Voronezh is directly north of the Rostov region.
Alleged helicopter attack: Prigozhin also claimed a helicopter fired at a civilian column and was downed by his forces, but did not give any further details. He accused the Russian military's chief of staff of ordering an aerial attack "in the middle of civilian cars." Later, he said that his units were hit by a helicopter on a highway.CNN cannot independently verify these claims.
Prigozhin accuses Russia of killing his forces: The Wagner chief accused Russia's military leadership of killing a "huge amount" of his mercenary forces in a strike on a camp and vowed to retaliate. "Many dozens, tens of thousands of lives, of Russian soldiers will be punished," Prigozhin said. "I ask that nobody put up any resistance." In a later Telegram post, Prigozhin said that his criticism of the military leadership was a “march of justice” and not a coup. Russia’s Ministry of Defense denied Prigozhin’s claims, calling it an “informational provocation."
Russia accuses Prigozhin of "armed rebellion": The Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s domestic intelligence service, responded by urging Wagner fighters to detain their leader and on Friday it opened a criminal case against the Prigozhin, accusing the mercenary force's chief of calling for "armed rebellion," the state news agency TASS reported. Russia's Ministry of Defense appealed to Wagner forces to "safely return to their points of permanent deployment," saying they were "tricked into Prigozhin's criminal adventure."
Russia steps up security: Moscow's mayor said "anti-terrorist measures" are being carried out in the city. A local journalist said the streets appear calm in Moscow, but that there is heightened security at government agencies. In the Russian city of Rostov, military vehicles could be seen driving the streets. Posts were organized on Saturday in the area of the headquarters of the Southern Military District in Rostov where military personnel and law enforcement officers are keeping order, a TASS correspondent reported.
19 min ago
Russian Ministry of Defense appeals to Wagner forces to return to "permanent deployment"
From CNN's Uliana Pavlova and Lizzy Yee
Russia's Ministry of Defense appealed to Wagner forces to "safely return to their points of permanent deployment" on Saturday, after the private mercenary group's chief Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed to have taken control of military facilities in two Russian cities.
"You were tricked into Prigozhin's criminal adventure and participation in an armed rebellion," the Russian Ministry of Defense said on their official Telegram channel.
"Many of your comrades from several squads have already realized their mistake by asking for help in ensuring the ability to safely return to their points of permanent deployment," the statement said.
"Such assistance from our side has already been provided to all the fighters and commanders who applied," it continued.
The Ministry of Defense said it would "guarantee everyone's safety."
29 min ago
Wagner claims it has taken control of military facilities in Voronezh
From CNN's Isaac Yee and Yulia Kesaieva
The Wagner paramilitary group claimed Saturday it had taken control of Russian military facilities in the Russian city of Voronezh.
"Military facilities in Voronezh are taken under the control of the Wagner PMC. The army switches to the side of the people," read a short statement from Wagner's Telegram channel.
Earlier on Saturday, Wager chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said he was at the military headquarters in Rostov and that the local airfield was under his force's control.
31 min ago
Russian security forces have cordoned off Wagner Center in St. Petersburg
From CNN's Josh Pennington and Lizzy Yee
Russian security forces have cordoned off the building of the Wagner Center in St. Petersburg, according to Russian state media outlet RIA Novosti.
Videos circulating on Telegram channels of the Wagner group show security personnel at the headquarters in St. Petersburg and a cordon around the building.
49 min ago
Russia's Ministry of Defense says reports of strike on Wagner forces are false
From CNN's Kesa Julia and Aruzhan Zeinulla
Russia's Defense Ministry told reporters on Friday that claims "the information spread on social networks" about a Russian strike on a Wagner military camp "is false," according to Russian state media.
“All the messages and video footage distributed on social networks on behalf of E. Prigozhin about the alleged strike by the Russian Defense Ministry against the 'military camps of the Wagner PMCs' do not correspond to reality and are an information provocation," the Ministry of Defense said, TASS reported Saturday.
The Russian Defense Ministry also said the Russian Armed Forces continue to carry out combat missions on the line of contact with the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Some context: Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is the chief of private military group Wagner, accused Russian forces of striking a Wagner military camp and killing a “a huge amount” of his fighters, in a series of Telegram messages on Friday.
46 min ago
Putin to address the nation "soon," Kremlin says, according to state media
From CNN's Zahra Ullah and Josh Pennington
Russian President Vladimir Putin will address the nation "soon," according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, state media outlet TASS reported.
The news follows claims the Wagner mercenary group has taken military control of a Russian city.
1 hr 42 min ago
Prigozhin says Rostov military headquarters and airfield are under Wagner control
From CNN's Josh Pennington
Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said his forces have control of military facilities in Rostov-on-Don and control of the airfield there.
"We are at headquarters at 7:30 a.m. Military facilities in Rostov, including the airfield are under [our] control," Prigozhin said in a video posted on the Wagner official Telegram channel.
"Planes that leave for combat work leave as usual no problems. Medical flights are leaving as usual. All we did was to take control so that the attack aviation would not strike us but strike in the Ukrainian direction."
Prigozhin said he is in Rostov-on-Don and his men are not stopping the officers from carrying out their duties.
"The main headquarters, the main control point is working as normal, there are no problems. No officers have been cut off," Prigozhin said.
CNN cannot independently verify his claims.
2 hr 4 min ago
FSB case against Prigozhin suggests Putin "is right on top of it," analyst says
The fact that Russia's domestic intelligence agency the Federal Security Service (FSB) opened a criminal case against Yevgeny Prigozhin suggests that Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned on the Wagner chief, a former CIA officer said.
“In my mind when the FSB says, ‘we see this is a criminal act and we’re investigating it,’ that to me means that Putin is right on top of it,” Steve Hall, a former career CIA officer and now CNN contributor, told CNN.
Prigozhin “knows precisely what his risk is... which is kind of interesting when you think about it, because that means he must have calculated that he can pull this off," Hall said.
“A guy like Prigozhin knows what the risks are and knows that if it doesn’t go well for him, it’s going to go really badly,” he added.