Russian President Putin vows to crush 'armed mutiny' after Wagner boss rebels

Russian President Putin vows to crush 'armed mutiny' after Wagner boss rebels

Moscow (Web Desk/Agencies): Russian President Vladimir Putin Saturday vowed to crush the armed mutiny led by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, following his claims of taking control of a southern city in a coup attempt against military leadership.

According to international media reports, the dramatic development, with several unclear details, comes after the Russian president seems to have faced the biggest domestic crisis since the invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

During a televised address, the Russian president said that the "excessive ambitions and vested interests have led to treason", and called the mutiny a "stab in the back."

He added that the Prigozhin move is a "blow to Russia, to our people." He added that Russia's actions to defend itself "against such a threat will be harsh."

"All those who deliberately stepped on the path of betrayal, who prepared an armed insurrection, who took the path of blackmail and terrorist methods, will suffer inevitable punishment, will answer both to the law and to our people," Putin said.

Meanwhile, rebellious Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Saturday he had taken control of the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don as part of an attempt to oust the military leadership amid what the authorities said was an armed mutiny.

Earlier, Prigozhin had demanded that Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff, whom he has pledged to oust over what he says is their disastrous leadership of the war against Ukraine, come to see him in Rostov, a city near the Ukrainian border that he said he had seized control of.

He had said he had 25,000 fighters who would "restore justice" and had alleged, without providing evidence, that the military had killed a huge number of fighters from his Wagner private militia in an air strike, something the defence ministry denied.

Prigozhin's Wagner militia spearheaded the capture of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut last month, and he has has for months been openly accusing Shoigu and Gerasimov of incompetence and of denying Wagner ammunition and support.

On Friday, he had appeared to cross a new line in the feud, saying that Putin's stated rationale for invading Ukraine 16 months ago was based on lies concocted by the army's top brass.