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"Armed mutiny" by Wagner group is "stab in back of our country," says Russia President Putin; vows harsh response

Moscow: Russia's President Vladimir Putin in a televised address to the nation on Saturday, said that the "armed mutiny" by the Wagner Group is a "stab in the back" and vowed to punish those who were on the "path of treason" or anyone who takes up arms against the Russian military.
Putin's statement comes after Yevgeny Prigozhin, the alleged head of the Wagner mercenary group, in a series of recordings released on social media on Saturday, announced that his troops had taken control of military facilities in two Russian cities. Putin today addressed Russian citizens, the personnel of military and security services, as well as those "who have been pushed to the path of armed insurrection by deception and threats," state media TASS reported.
In his televised address to the nation, Putin said, "Renegade actions against those fighting in the front is a stab in the back of our country," CNN reported. Putin also pledged a harsh response and punishment to those who plan "an armed rebellion."
"We will defend both our people and our statehood from any threats, including internal treachery. What we have been confronted with can be precisely called treachery. The unbounded ambitions and personal interests have led to treason and a betrayal of the country and its people," Putin was cited by TASS.
"The heroes who liberated Soledar and Artyomovsk, towns and settlements in Donbass, who fought and lost their lives for Novorossiya, for the unity of the Russian world - their name and glory have also been betrayed by those who are trying to stage a mutiny and pushing the country towards anarchy and fratricide, defeat and finally surrender," Putin said in his address.
Putin in his address said "all kinds of political adventurers and foreign forces, who divided the country and tore it apart, profited from their own interests. We will not let this happen again. We will protect both our people and our statehood from any threats, including internal treachery," CNN reported.
The Russian president's statement came hours after The Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia opened a criminal case into a call for an armed mutiny by the Wagner group. The FSB urged Wagner fighters not to obey Prigozhin's orders and take measures for his detention.
In his address, Putin described Wagner's actions as "betrayal" and stressed that "any actions that fracture our unity" are "a stab in the back of our country and our people."
"Those who carry deliberately on a path of treason, preparing an armed rebellion when you were preparing terrorist attacks, will be punished," Putin said.
He said that "any internal turmoil" is a "deadly threat" to Russia's statehood and Moscow's actions to protect the homeland. He noted that such a threat will "face a severe response."
Calling the situation in Rostov-on-Don "difficult," Putin in his address noted that the work of civil and military administration had been blocked in Rostov.
"The situation in Rostov-on-Don remains difficult during the armed uprising. In Rostov, the work of civil and military administration is basically blocked," Putin said as per the CNN report.
Earlier today, the Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said his forces have taken control of military facilities, including the airfield in Rostov-on-Don. Prigozhin's actions come after he accused Russian forces of striking a Wagner military camp and killing "a huge amount" of his fighters. Russia's Ministry of Defense has denied his claim and termed it an "information provocation."
Russian President Putin announced that the armed forces have been given "necessary orders" and "decisive action" will be taken to stabilize the situation in Rostov. He further said that "additional anti-terrorism, security measures" have been taken in Moscow and a number of other regions.
Wagner on Saturday claimed to have taken control of Russian military facilities in Voronezh, including the airfield in Rostov-on-Don.
"Military facilities in Voronezh are taken under the control of the Wagner PMC. The army switches to the side of the people," Wagner said in a statement on the Telegram channel, according to CNN.
Prigozhin noted that planes that leave for combat work have no problems and the medical flights were also leaving, according to CNN. He further said, "All we did was to take control so that the attack aviation would not strike us but strike in the Ukrainian direction."
Russian security forces have cordoned off the building of the Wagner Center in St Petersburg, CNN reported citing RIA Novosti, a Russian news website. Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defence has urged Wagner forces to "safely return to their points of permanent deployment." (ANI)

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