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Putin accuses Wagner Group of ‘treason’ in national address

Russia accused Wagner mercenaries of “treason” on Saturday in a live address to the nation after the group’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin called for an armed uprising to oust the defense minister on Friday. Russian authorities reacted immediately, opening a criminal investigation and urging Prigozhin’s arrest. Follow our live blog for the latest updates. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

3:14pm: Belarus foreign ministry says Wagner rebellion is a ‘gift’ to the West

Russia’s close ally Belarus said Saturday that the armed insurrection underway by the Wagner Group was a “gift” to Western countries, warning the uprising could spell “disaster”.

“Any provocation, any internal conflict in military or political circles, in the information field or in civil society is a gift to the collective West,” the Belarusian foreign ministry said, citing a statement by Minsk’s security council.

3:06pm: Putin signs law permitting 30-day detentions for breaking martial law

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday signed a law permitting 30-day detentions for breaking martial law in places where it has been imposed, the state RIA news agency reported.

2:54pm: Chechnya’s Kadyrov says sending units to ‘zones of tension’ in Russia following Wagner rebellion

The strongman leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, announced Saturday he had sent Chechen units to “zones of tension” in Russia after Wagner mercenaries launched a rebellion in the country.

“Defence ministry and National Guard fighters of the Chechen Republic have already left for the zones of tension,” Kadyrov, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said on Telegram. “The rebellion must be put down, and if harsh measures are necessary, we are ready!”

2:37pm: Russian soldiers set up machine gun position on edge of Moscow, Russian newspaper reports

Russian soldiers on Saturday set up a machine gun position on the southwest edge of Moscow, according to photographs published by the Vedomosti newspaper.

Photographs also showed armed police gathering at the point where the M4 highway – which rebelling Wagner mercenaries are moving along – reaches the Russian capital.

2pm: Prigozhin says Wagner forces took army HQ without firing a single shot

Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Saturday that his Wagner troops had not needed to fire a single shot when they took control of the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District in Rostov.

“Why does the country support us? Because we went on a march of justice,” Prigozhin said in his latest Telegram audio message. “We got to Rostov. Without a single shot we captured the building of the (army) HQ.”

In a new audio message released by his press service, he said his men had been fired on by artillery and helicopters en route to Rostov however.

He said he thought he had the support of the Russian people for what he calls his “march of justice”.

1:59pm: Putin working in the Kremlin as rebellion ongoing, spokesman says

Russian President Vladimir Putin is working as normal in the Kremlin, his spokesman said Saturday, after the Russian Wagner mercenary group vowed to topple the country’s senior military leadership.

“The president is working in the Kremlin,” his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency, after Wagner units claimed to have captured military installations in southern Russia.

1:57pm: Qatar expresses concern over situation in Russia

Qatar expressed its concerns over the situation in Russia on Saturday and called for “maximum restraint” from all parties, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The foreign ministry warns that escalation in Russia and Ukraine will have negative consequences for international peace and security and will impact food and energy supplies,” the statement added.

1:55pm: Russian army says rebuffed Kyiv attacks in south and east Ukraine

The Russian army on Saturday said it had rebuffed attacks from Kyiv’s forces in the south and east of Ukraine, amid rival Wagner forces’ rebellion inside Russia, vowing to overthrow Moscow’s top brass.

Russian army units had “in the last day successfully fought off nine attacks” along the Donetsk front, including near Bakhmut, Moscow’s army said in a statement. It added that an attack in southern Ukraine, near the settlement of Yablokovo in the Zaporizhzhia region, was also pushed back.

1:35pm: Russian helicopters open fire on Wagner column rolling towards Moscow

Russian military helicopters opened fire on Saturday afternoon on a convoy of rebel mercenaries already more than halfway towards Moscow in a lightning advance after seizing a southern city overnight.

A Reuters journalist saw army helicopters open fire on an armed Wagner column that was advancing past the city of Voronezh with troop carriers and at least one tank on a flatbed truck. The city is more than halfway along the 1,100-km (680-mile) highway from Rostov to Moscow.

Fighters from Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private Wagner militia have seized control of Rostov-on-Don, a city of more than a million people close to the border with Ukraine, and are rapidly advancing northwards through western Russia.

1:25pm: Russian Lipetsk region governor urges residents to stay home

Authorities in Russia’s southwestern Lipetsk region urged residents to stay at home on Saturday after the Wagner mercenary group vowed to take up arms to topple the country’s military leadership.

“To ensure law and order and the safety of the citizens of the Lipetsk region, the operational headquarters of the region asks residents without urgent need not to leave their homes and refrain from any travel by personal or public transport,” the regional government’s press service said in a statement on social media.

Lipetsk is located north from Voronezh, between the latter and Moscow. They issued the warning amid reports that rebellious Wagner mercenaries were transiting the region en route to Moscow. A Reuters journalist on Saturday reported seeing an army helicopter open fire on an armed Wagner column on the M4 highway outside Voronezh.

1:10pm: Navigation on Moskva river temporarily suspended, authorities say

Navigation on the Moskva river, which runs through the Russian capital Moscow, was temporarily suspended on Saturday amid an armed rebellion launched by the Wagner mercenary group, the state news agency TASS reported, citing the authorities.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a separate statement that no restrictions had been put in place for cars and lorries coming in and out of the city, but said security checks had been stepped up.

12:24pm: Oil depot fuel tank on fire in Russia’s Voronzeh region, governor says

The governor of Russia’s Voronezh region said on Saturday that emergency services were trying to put out a burning fuel tank at an oil depot.

“In Voronezh, (authorities) are extinguishing a burning fuel depot,” the governor Alexander Gusev said on Telegram. “There are 100 firefighters and more than 30 vehicles at the scene,” he added, saying there were “no victims according to the first data.”

Gusev did not give the cause of the fire, but video footage obtained by Reuters showed a ball of fire erupting after a helicopter flew near a residential area. The Voronezh location was verified by Reuters by buildings and road characteristics that matched satellite imagery.

Earlier on Saturday, a Russian security source told Reuters that Wagner fighters had taken control of military facilities in the city of Voronezh, about 500 km (310 miles) south of Moscow. It is located halfway between Rostov-on-Don, whose military HQ Wagner claimed control of, and Russian capital Moscow.

12:15pm: Wagner rebellion shows Russia’s ‘full-scale weakness’, says Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that an armed insurrection launched by members of the Wagner mercenary group was evidence of Russia’s inherent political instability.

“Russia’s weakness is obvious. Full-scale weakness. And the longer Russia keeps its troops and mercenaries on our land, the more chaos, pain, and problems it will have for itself later,” he said in statement on social media, adding that: “Ukraine is able to protect Europe from the spread of Russian evil and chaos.”

11:50am: Wagner fighters claim control of Voronezh military facilities

A Russian security source told Reuters that Wagner fighters had also taken control of military facilities in the city of Voronezh, further north on the road towards Moscow.

The governor of Russia’s southern region of Voronezh said Saturday that Russian military were taking necessary measures to suppress an attempt by the Wagner mercenary group to topple the country’s senior military leadership.

“As part of the counter-terrorist operation on the territory of the Voronezh region, the armed forces of the Russian Federation are carrying out necessary operational and combat measures,” the official, Alexander Gusev, said in a statement on social media.

Reuters could not independently confirm the situation there.

In Moscow, there was an increased security presence on the streets. Red Square was blocked off by metal barriers.

11:45am: Wagner chief Prigozhin ‘trying to make a place for himself for the post-Putin Russia’, says analyst

Political analyst Alexandra Filippenko breaks down Wagner’s rebellion: “This has been prepared for a long time.”

11:35am: Wagner chief Prigozhin says fighters will not turn themselves in, calls Putin ‘deeply mistaken’

Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Saturday that he and his Wagner Group’s men would not turn themselves in on the orders of President Vladimir Putin.

The former president’s close ally and the head of the Wagner mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin Saturday said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “deeply mistaken” in calling rebelling Wagner fighters “traitors”.

“On treason of the motherland: the president is deeply wrong. We are patriots of our motherland,” Prigozhin, who launched a mutiny overnight, said in an audio message on Telegram. “Nobody plans to turn themselves in at the request of the president, the FSB (security service) or anyone else.”

11:05am: Chechen leader says his forces are ready to help put down Wagner rebellion

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on Saturday his forces were ready to help put down an ongoing armed uprising by Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and to use harsh methods if necessary. Kadyrov in a statement called Prigozhin’s behaviour “a knife in the back” and called on Russian soldiers not to give in to any “provocations”.

10:55am: Officials in Russian-occupied Ukraine express support for Putin

The Russian-installed heads of Ukrainian regions occupied by Moscow on Saturday expressed support for President Vladimir Putin as Russia faces an extraordinary rebellion by mercenaries from the Wagner Group.

“The Kherson region and the people of Kherson completely support our president!”, the Russian-installed head of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region said on Telegram. The Kremlin-appointed head of the part of the Zaporizhzhia region controlled by Moscow, Yevgeny Balitsky, said the territory was “with the president”.

10:40am: Wagner office in Saint Petersburg raided, local news outlet reports

Russian law enforcement appears to have conducted a raid on the Wagner office in St Petersburg, local news outlet Fontanka has reported.

“Law enforcers have entered PMC Wagner Centre on St Petersburg’s Zolnaya street,” the outlet reported. Two buses with riot police and national guards have arrived at the building, it reports, entering together with people in plain clothing. Fontanka posted about the raid on its Telegram channel on Saturday.

The news outlet claimed that “people in masks and with automatic rifles” were deployed near Saint Petersburg’s Blagoveshchensky bridge, where a hotel and a restaurant linked to Wagner boss Yevgeni Prigozhin are located.

10:30am: Russia’s Putin briefed Belarus’ Lukashenko on situation in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday briefed Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on the situation in Russia, according to a message posted on the Belarusian presidency’s official Telegram channel.

9:50am: Western countries following situation in Russia

US President Joe Biden was briefed on the situation in Russia and Washington and “will be consulting with allies and partners on these developments”, National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge said.

Poland’s president Andrzej Duda “held consultations with the prime minister and the ministry of defence, as well as with allies” about the situation in Russia, he wrote on Twitter on Saturday, adding that Warsaw was monitoring the situation. “The course of events beyond our eastern border is monitored on an ongoing basis,” he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron “is following the situation very closely,” the presidential palace said on Saturday. “We stay focused on the support to Ukraine,” it added.

Britain’s government has also been issuing multiple reports. Britain’s foreign ministry warned of a risk of unrest across Russia, in an update of advice to travellers on Saturday following movements by Russia’s Wagner Group of mercenary forces. “There are reports of military tensions in the Rostov region and a risk of further unrest across the country,” Britain’s foreign ministry said.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government is also monitoring the situation. “We are monitoring events in Russia closely,” a spokesperson at the government’s press office said on Saturday;

European Council President Charles Michel said on Saturday he was “closely monitoring” the situation in Russia and was in touch with fellow European Union leaders and G7 partners. “This is clearly an internal Russian issue,” Michel, the president of the body that brings together the leaders of the EU’s 27 member countries, said on Twitter. He also said the EU’s support for Ukraine and its president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, was “unwavering”.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has also said “Estonia is closely following the development of the situation in Russia and exchanging information with allies. I can assure that there is no direct threat to our country. Border security has been strengthened. I also urge our people not to travel to any part of Russia.”

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is closely monitoring events in Russia, her office said Saturday, while her foreign minister urged Italians living there to exercise caution.”Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is closely following the events taking place in Russia, which show how the aggression against Ukraine is causing instability also within Russia,” her office said in a statement. On Twitter, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said that for the moment there was no concern for Italians living in Russia, but said they were “advised to be cautious”.

9:34am: Russian state facing ‘significant challenge’ from Wagner rebellion, Britain’s defence ministry says

Britain’s defence ministry said on Saturday that the Russian state was facing its greatest security challenge of recent times and that the outcome would depend on the “loyalty of Russia‘s security forces”.

“Over the coming hours, the loyalty of Russia’s security forces, and especially the Russian National Guard, will be key to how this crisis plays out. This represents the most significant challenge to the Russian state in recent times,” Britain’s defence ministry said in a regular intelligence update Saturday morning.

UK military intelligence said earlier that Wagner units were moving north through Vorenezh oblast and are likely headed for Moscow.

9:04am: Putin accuses Wagner of ‘treason’, calls for ‘unity’ of security forces

In a televised address to the nation Saturday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin called an armed rebellion by Wagner mercenaries “treason” while promising to “defend the people” and Russia.

He accused those involved of “betraying” Russia out of “personal ambition”, calling the actions “a knife in the back”.

Putin said the rebellion had blocked local civilian and military governing bodies in Rostov-on-Don and vowed to punish those responsible.

He said the situation remained “difficult” in the key southern city, where the Wagner group claimed control of the army headquarters, which oversees the fighting in Ukraine.

Russia’s FSB opened a criminal probe into Prigozhin for “armed mutiny” on Friday.

9:00am: At least three killed in latest Russian air strike on Ukraine

At least three people were killed early on Saturday after Russia unleashed its latest overnight air strike on Ukraine, officials said. Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said missiles had targeted least five regions across the country and that three people were killed and eight wounded after a high-rise in the capital Kyiv was struck.

Officials in the southeastern region of Dnipropetrovsk said eight people were wounded – two of them children – and several buildings destroyed in attacks there.

Governor Serhiy Lysak said air defences had destroyed nine missiles and three drones but that residential buildings in the regional capital Dnipro and an unspecified infrastructure object were hit. “Not a single military target,” Mayor Borys Filatov wrote separately on Telegram.

At least three Russian missiles also targeted Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, with one hitting a gas line and triggering a fire, said Mayor Ihor Terekhov. He said emergency services were at the scene but gave no details on casualties.

8:52am: Russian army urges Wagner fighters to abandon Prigozhin, says will ‘guarantee safety’ for deserters

The Russian army on Saturday urged Wagner fighters to abandon the group’s leader, saying it would “guarantee the safety” of Wagner mercenaries who stop rebelling against Moscow’s military leadership.

“We are appealing to the fighters of assault squads of PMC Wagner. You were deceived into (Wagner chief’s Yevgeny) Prigozhin’s criminal venture and participation in an armed rebellion,” the army said in a statement posted on Telegram. It called on the fighters to ask for help to return to “places of permanent deployment”.

“We ask you to show reason and get in touch with representatives of Russia’s defence ministry or law enforcement. We guarantee safety for all.”

8:40am: ‘We are watching’, ‘everything just beginning in Russia’, Kyiv says

Ukrainian officials have express limited reaction to Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s call for rebellion. Ukrainian Defence Ministry has tweeted “We are watching”, with no further comments. According to FRANCE 24’s correspondent Gulliver Cragg, Ukrainians took to social media following this “surprising” news.

A senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday also described the actions by Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin as a “counter-terrorist operation” and said that “everything is just beginning in Russia”.

“The split between the elites is too obvious. Agreeing and pretending that everything is settled won’t work,” Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted. “Someone must definitely lose: either Prigozhin … or the collective ‘anti-Prigozhin’,” he added. “Everything is just beginning in Russia.”

8:15am: Russia declares ‘anti-terrorist operation regime’ in Moscow

Russia‘s anti-terrorist committee said on Saturday that it was imposing an “anti-terror operation regime” in Moscow and the surrounding region amid an apparent rebellion by the Wagner mercenary group, the state news agency RIA reported.

“With the aim of preventing possible terrorist acts on the territory of the city of Moscow and the Moscow region, an anti-terror operation regime has been introduced,” the country’s national anti-terrorist committee said in a statement quoted by Russian agencies.

8:11am: Wagner head Prigozhin claims troops controls army HQ overseeing fighting in Ukraine, planes ‘leaving as normal’

Yevgeny Prigozhin posted a video of himself in Rostov-on-Don at the Russian military headquarters that oversees the fighting in Ukraine. He claimed that his forces had military facilities in the city under their control, including the air field. Other videos posted on social media showed military vehicles, including tanks, on the streets outside.

“We are inside the (army) headquarters, it is 7:30 am (0430 GMT),” Prigozhin said in a video on Telegram. “Military sites in Rostov, including an aerodrome, are under control,” he added.

He said that planes taking part in the Ukraine offensive “are leaving as normal” from the airfield. “We took (the aerodrome) under control so that the attack aviation did not strike us, but strike Ukrainians,” Prigozhin said.

8am: Russian President Putin to give televised address ‘soon’, Kremlin says

Russian President Vladimir Putin will give a televised address soon, the TASS news agency cited the Kremlin as saying on Saturday. “Putin will make an address soon”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies.

6:55am: Wagner chief says group inside Rostov army HQ, controls all city’s military sites, including HQ that oversees Ukraine fighting

The head of Wagner mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin announced Saturday that he was inside the army HQ in southern Russia‘s Rostov-on-Don and that his fighters control the city’s military sites, including an aerodrome, after vowing to bring down Moscow‘s top brass.

“We are inside the (army) headquarters, it is 7:30 am (0430 GMT),” Prigozhin said in a video on Telegram. “Military sites in Rostov, including an aerodrome, are under control,” he added.

The city is home to the Russian military headquarters that oversees the fighting in Ukraine.

5:48am: Russian M-4 motorway closed to traffic 400 km south of Moscow, says regional governor

The governor of the Lipetsk region in central Russia said on Saturday that the M-4 motorway connecting Moscow with southern regions was closed to traffic at the border with the Voronezh region, some 400 km (250 miles) south of Moscow.

Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin appeared to have sent an armed convoy of his Wagner fighters on a 1,200-km (750-mile) drive towards Moscow, having said that he intended to oust the military leadership.

5:15am: Moscow mayor says ‘anti-terror’ activities under way

The mayor of Moscow said on Saturday that “anti-terror” measures were being taken in the Russian capital after the chief of mercenary group Wagner vowed to bring down the country’s military leadership.

Authorities in the regions of Rostov and Lipetsk also said security had been reinforced there.

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said earlier his units, which spearheaded an assault in eastern Ukraine, had entered the southern region of Rostov.

“In connection with the incoming information in Moscow, anti-terrorist measures aimed at strengthening security are being taken,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on social media.

Lipetsk governor Igor Artamonov said he was in a meeting with members of the FSB security service.

5:04am: Anti-Kremlin tycoon urges Russians to back Wagner chief

Anti-Kremlin figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Saturday urged Russians to support the chief of mercenary group Wagner who has vowed to bring down Moscow’s military leadership.

“We need to help now, and then, if necessary, we will fight this one, too,” Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon who fell foul of the Kremlin, wrote on social media. He said it was important to back “even the devil” if he decided to take on the Kremlin. “And yes, this is just the beginning.”

5:00am: Armed men skirt police building seen on videos posted on Russia’s Rostov-on-Don

Videos posted on Russian local Rostov-on-Don Telegram channels early on Saturday showed armed men in uniform skirting the city’s regional police headquarters, belonging to the Interior Ministry.

It was not immediately clear who the armed men were. Reuters was able to verify the location as the police headquarters building, but not to determine when the video was shot.

Authorities in southern Russian regions had said measures were being taken to ensure public safety, after the founder of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force indicated that he planned to despatch men to Moscow to oust the military leadership.

4:30am: Russian military convoy on the move, says governor

The government of the southern Russian Voronezh region urged residents to avoid the M-4 north-south motorway connecting Moscow to southern regions because a military convoy was on the move there, after the leader of the Wagner private militia suggested that he planned to oust Russia’s military leadership.

The government said on its Telegram channel that the situation was under control and that measures were being taken to ensure public safety.

4:26am: Wagner chief says his 25,000-strong force is ‘ready to die’

The chief of mercenary group Wagner said on Saturday that his 25,000-strong force was “ready to die” as he vowed to topple Russia’s military leadership.

“All of us are ready to die. All 25,000, and then another 25,000,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a new audio message. “We are dying for the Russian people.”

3:30am: Wagner chief vows to topple Russian military leadership

The head of the Wagner mercenary group vowed Saturday to “go to the end” to topple the Russian military leadership, whom he accused of launching strikes on his men, while the country’s prosecutor general said he was under investigation for “armed rebellion”.

“We are going onwards and we will go to the end,” Yevgeny Prigozhin, 62, said in an audio message.

“We will destroy everything that stands in our way,” he added in the most audacious challenge to President Vladimir Putin since the start of the offensive in Ukraine last year.

He later claimed his forces had shot down a Russian military helicopter.

“A helicopter has just now opened fire at a civilian column. It has been shot down by units of PMC Wagner,” he said.

Prigozhin earlier said his forces, who have spearheaded much of Russia’s offensive, had entered the southern Russian region of Rostov but did not provide any proof and AFP could not independently verify his claims.

In Moscow, authorities have tightened security measures, with critical facilities “put under reinforced protection”, the TASS state-run news agency reported, citing a law enforcement source.

The FSB security service urged Wagner fighters to “take measures to detain” Prigozhin.

Putin was being given regular updates on the unfolding tensions between the Wagner group and the defence ministry, the Kremlin said.

Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov had informed Putin of “the initiation of a criminal case in connection with an attempt to organise an armed rebellion,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

3:11am: Southern Russian governor tells citizens to stay home as boss of Wagner militia mutinies

The governor of southern Russia’s Rostov region adjoining Ukraine told residents early on Saturday to remain calm and stay indoors, as the leader of the Wagner private militia led what Russia calls a rebellion against the Moscow defence establishment.

“Law enforcement agencies are doing everything necessary to ensure the safety of residents of the area. I ask everyone to stay calm and not to leave home unless necessary,” Vassily Golubev said in a message on his Telegram channel just before 4 a.m. (0100 GMT).

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin had said his forces had crossed from Ukraine into the Rostov region. Golubev’s message did not say whether Prigozhin had entered Rostov.

Kyiv, meanwhile, said the major thrust in its counteroffensive against Moscow’s invasion had yet to be launched. “The main blow is still to come,” Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar told Ukrainian television

2:30am: Moscow accuses Wagner head of ‘mutiny’, he says his forces entered Russia

Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Saturday his Wagner fighters had crossed the border into Russia from Ukraine and were prepared to go “all the way” against Moscow’s military, hours after the Kremlin accused him of armed ‘mutiny’.

As a long-running standoff between Prigozhin and the military top brass appeared to come to a head, Russia’s FSB security service opened a criminal case against him, TASS news agency said. It called on the Wagner private military company forces to ignore his orders and arrest him.

Wagner fighters had entered the southern Russian city of Rostov, Prigozhin said in an audio recording posted on Telegram. He said he and his men would destroy anyone who stood in their way.

Prigozhin earlier said, without providing evidence, that Russia’s military leadership had killed a huge number of his troops in an air strike and vowed to punish them.

He said his actions were not a military coup. But in a frenzied series of audio messages, in which the sound of his voice sometimes varied and could not be independently verified, he appeared to suggest that his 25,000-strong militia was en route to oust the leadership of the defence ministry in Moscow.

Security was stepped up on Friday night at government buildings, transport facilities and other key locations in Moscow, TASS reported, citing a source at a security service.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was getting around-the-clock updates, TASS said, while the White House said it was monitoring the situation and would consult with allies.

Kyiv, meanwhile, said the major thrust in its counteroffensive against Moscow’s invasion had yet to be launched. “The main blow is still to come,” Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar told Ukrainian television.

Key developments from Friday, June 23:

Russia’s FSB security services launched a criminal probe into calls to stage “armed mutiny” after the head of the Wagner mercenary group vowed to resist Moscow’s military leadership, officials said Friday. The announcement follows statements from Yevgeny Prigozhin accusing Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of ordering a rocket strike on Wagner’s field camps in Ukraine.

Read yesterday’s liveblog to see how all the day’s events unfolded.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

Originally published on France24

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