Major Uprising in Russia
Russia is facing a severe internal crisis as Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the private military company Wagner Group, has launched an uprising against the Russian army. Prigozhin has been accused of treason by President Putin, who has vowed to “neutralize” the uprising. Wagner troops have reportedly taken control of major Russian cities such as Rostov-on-Don and Voronezh. They have also surrounded government buildings, taken over a Russian army base, established checkpoints, and are allegedly controlling all military facilities in Voronezh.
The uprising has resulted in significant conflict, with Wagner forces claiming to have shot down several Russian military helicopters and various explosions being reported, including one at an oil depot near Voronezh. Moscow has been taken by surprise, with officials reportedly in shock and unsure of how to respond. A “counterterrorism” state of emergency has been declared in Moscow and the surrounding area, leading to the cancellation of all mass events in the city.
Prigozhin has defended his actions, stating that he and his forces are patriots acting against corruption and lies in the country. He has refused to surrender in response to Putin’s call and has criticized Putin directly for the first time. Furthermore, he has declared his intention to receive Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the country’s top general, Valery Gerasimov, in Rostov, threatening to blockade the city and head for Moscow if they do not comply.
This internal conflict in Russia has had international implications. In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy blamed Russia’s “obvious” weakness for the uprising and pointed out that Russia had armed the Wagner troops. In the UK, a Cobra security meeting was called in response to the situation, and in Estonia, which borders Russia, there has been an increase in security at the border due to the crisis