The Kremlin has put Moscow in lockdown and are building up their defences in the capital as Wagner Groups rebellion poses “a serious threat” to Vladimir Putin and his leadership.
Putin addressed the nation on Saturday morning and the UK’s former ambassador to Russia warned that this indicates this is a “very, very big deal” as Wagner are marching to Moscow.
Sir Laurie Bristow said that Yevgeny Prigozhin actions is “very damaging for Mr Putin” as this all demonstrates the true extent of how bad the Russian political system has degraded.
He added that in his opinion it is “very unlikely that we’ll see serious unrest on the streets of Moscow,” adding, that Russia “has enough means at its disposal to suppress any unrest.”
Mick Mulroy, a retired CIA officer and a former Pentagon official, warned the Wagner chief poses “a serious challenge” to the Russian leader.
The former CIA officer said, “If Mr Prigozhin’s threats materialize, the Russian military may have to refocus its efforts from countering the Ukrainian advance to the Russian government’s ‘self-preservation’.”
“Even if this attempted coup fails, it emphatically makes the point that those closest to this war know it was a terrible mistake.”
The FSB domestic security service has opened a criminal case against Prigozhin as he called for an “armed mutiny,” which could land him a jail term of up to 20 years.
The FSB said in a statement, “Prigozhin’s statements are in fact calls for the start of an armed civil conflict on Russian territory and his actions are a ‘stab in the back’ of Russian servicemen fighting pro-fascist Ukrainian forces.”
“We urge the … fighters not to make irreparable mistakes, to stop any forcible actions against the Russian people, not to carry out the criminal and traitorous orders of Prigozhin, to take measures to detain him.’
The Kremlin said that all “necessary measures are being taken” and Putin is constantly being updated.