Former Russian Ally Declares War On Top Leadership

Russia is facing a major military crisis as the former state ally Yevgeny Prigozhin declared war on Moscow’s defense ministry amid a feud with top military leadership.

What Happened: Prigozhin has vowed revenge against the Kremlin, whose officials he alleged had killed thousands of his private mercenaries, reported Reuters.

“If anyone gets in our way, we will destroy everything!” Prigozhin said, adding he had pulled his troops back from Ukraine. 

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In a Friday night statement, the top Russian security agency, FSB, said it had “legally and reasonably begun criminal proceedings” against the Wagner Group chief “for the organization of armed insurrection.”

“Prigozhin’s statements, in fact, call 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,” the FSB said.

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Security measures in Moscow were also being strengthened, with particular focus on safeguarding the city’s critical government sites and infrastructure. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, as per state media, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is aware of the rapidly unfolding situation and “all necessary measures are being taken.”

Why It Matters: The ongoing feud between Prigozhin and Russia’s Ministry of Defense has been boiling for several months. Prigozhin repeatedly has accused Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of concealing Russia’s “colossal” failures on the battlefield from Putin. 

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Prigozhin claims that approximately 2,000 members of the private military company Wagner were killed due to strikes ordered by the Russian Ministry of Defense. In a subsequent statement on Telegram, Prigozhin referred to Shoigu and the chief of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces and the overall commander of the war on Ukraine, Valery Gerasimov, as “criminals” responsible for the destruction of approximately 100,000 Russian army men.

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