Yevgeny Prigozhin in "first address" from "seized" Russian city, screen capture from a video he shared on Telegram that was translated and shared on Twitter by Igor Sushko

The British Ministry Of Defense Calls Crisis The ‘Most Significant Challenge to the Russian State in Recent Times’

Last updated on June 25th, 2023 at 10:01 pm

This is a developing story. We are gathering information from global officials and other authorities, war correspondents, Ukraine and Russia experts, and credible news outlets. News gathering on this story is further challenged by Russia’s hold over its media. Please understand that some of what is reported will later turn out to be wrong, but not due to a lack of effort or diligence on our part or the people reporting it. We will update as this story unfolds.

Russian oligarch and mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group claims to have seized territory and military facilities in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. The British Ministry of Defense has responded, calling the events “the most significant challenge to the Russian state in recent times.”

War correspondent Tim Mak wrote in The Counteroffensive Saturday morning, “He (Putin) also promised ‘decisive action’ to stabilize what he called the ‘difficult’ situation in Rostov-on-Don. But within hours of his speech, the mercenaries had already progressed hundreds of kilometers north towards Moscow from the strategic city.”

On Twitter, Mak wrote, “The Wagner Group has seized territory in Russia and is trying to remove the nation’s military leadership from power. The UK assesses that the mercenaries are trying to get to Moscow.”

He added, “The war in Ukraine has sparked a mortal challenge to Putin’s regime: the armed mercenaries at the Wagner Group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, are now in open rebellion.”

It’s still unclear what Prigozhin’s motive is and whether or not this is a coup. He has repeatedly criticized the top Russian military leaders over their work in the illegal invasion of Ukraine. The BBC points out that while not a coup, “(I)t is an attempt to topple Russia’s top brass and therefore a challenge to the president’s authority. And even though it was Russia’s leader who allowed Prigozhin to develop his rival force, he clearly has no control of him any more.”

The UK has been an important ally for the US, as together they have worked with other allies in an effort to fend off the rising threat of global authoritarianism and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

PoliticusUSA will keep you updated on significant developments in Russia’s civil strife.

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