Russian President Vladimir Putin has begun addressing the nation – stay tuned for updates on what he says.
Events are moving quickly, with plenty of claims and counter-claims.
Russia’s defence ministry has said Wagner fighters were “tricked into the criminal adventure and armed rebellion” by Prigozhin, the leader of the mercenary group.
In a statement carried on state-run media, the ministry said many Wagner members “had already realised their mistake” and now wanted assistance from the authorities to be able to “return safely” to their permanent bases.
It did not provide any evidence for this claim.
Meanwhile, Rossiya 24 TV channel aired footage purportedly showing Wagner members going back under control of the armed forces.
The video has not been independently verified.
Prigozhin – who claims to have 25,000 fighters under his command – is yet to publicly comment on the defence ministry’s statement.ADVERTISEMENT
Good morning. If you’re just joining us, welcome to our live coverage.
I’m here in London with my colleagues James Harness, Yaroslav Lukov, Michael Sheils McNamee, and others, as we bring you the latest from events in Russia, including analysis from our experts around the world.
A lot has happened overnight, so here’s a recap of events:
- In an astonishing escalation of Russian infighting, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian Wagner mercenary group, has called for a rebellion against the army – although he has denied attempting a coup.
- Moscow accuses him of armed mutiny.
- Prigozhin says his forces have marched from Ukraine into Russia and control key sites in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
- Prigozhin has accused the Russian military of carrying out a deadly missile strike on Wagner troops in Ukraine, which the defence ministry denies
- He posted a video in which he says Wagner forces will continue to blockade the city and move on to Moscow unless defence chiefs Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimovn meet him
- Moscow has introduced anti-terror measures – armoured vehicles have been seen on the streets
- The M4 highway connecting Moscow and Rostov has been closed at the border between Lipetsk and Voronezh regions, the Lipetsk governor says
- President Putin is expected to make TV address shortly
We will bring you details on what Putin says and all the latest developments as they happen.
Stay with us.
One of Russia’s top military commanders, Gen Sergei Surovikin, has urged Wagner mercenary fighters to “obey the will and command” of President Putin and return to their base.
The video below has subtitles.
A video which has emerged in the past few hours shows Yevgeny Prigozhin meeting with Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov.
It is unclear when the footage was taken, but it purports to show Prigozhin sitting down with Yevkurov and Vladimir Stepanovich Alekseev, the deputy chief of Russia’s military intelligence service.
Prigozhin has demanded a meeting with Russia’s chief of the general staff Valery Gerasimov and Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu.
The video was allegedly taken at Russia’s southern military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don.
The BBC has not independently verified the footage.
BBC Russia editor
Yevgeny Prigozhin claims this is not a military coup. But his aim seems to be to topple Russia’s military leadership.
He says that last night Wagner fighters crossed the border from Ukraine into Russia and entered the city of Rostov.
In a video posted this morning on social media, Prigozhin can be seen arguing with senior Russian commanders at the regional army headquarters in Rostov.
“We’ve come here,” he says, “because we want to get the chief of the general staff and Russia’s defence minister.” Otherwise, he warned he and his fighters would remain in the building, blockade the city of Rostov, and head to Moscow.
In a separate video Prigozhin claimed that military sites in Rostov, including the airfield, were now under the Wagner’s control.
The Russian authorities have accused Prigozhin of an armed mutiny.
Bulgaria: The Court left Vasil Bozhkov in Custody – He communicated with Prigozhin? – Novinite.com – Sofia News Agency
Vasil Bozhkov remains in custody permanently, the Bulgarian court decided, after the gambling boss was detained on his return to Bulgaria. During the court session, the prosecutor’s office presented data on communication and joint business between Bozhkov and the leader of Read more…