Desk – Authorities have beefed up security across Moscow after the chief of the Wagner mercenary force has called for a rebellion against the Russian army, international media reported.
Already in war with neighbouring Ukraine, Russia is seemingly heading towards a civil war with the rebellion from the mercenary group, as the Russian leadership vowed to punish those who moved troops towards Moscow, analysists have said.
The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, has asked people to restrict their movements around the capital as rebels from the mercenary Wagner Group appear to be heading towards the city, according to BBC.
Earlier in the day, life was continuing much as normal, albeit with a heavy security presence, and with roadblocks set up to check vehicles.
The chief of the Wagner mercenary force, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has called for a rebellion against the Russian army – although he has denied attempting a coup, the media reports say.
Earlier, Wagner group said, it took control of two Russian cities – Rostov-on-Don, which has played a key role since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, near the Ukraine border, and Voronezh – another regional capital not far from the Ukrainian border.
The group asked the residents to stay indoors.
BBC reported that Wagner mercenaries have seized military facilities in Voronezh, which is halfway between Rostov and Moscow.
President Vladimir Putin decries “betrayal” and “treason” in a TV speech, promising to punish rebels.
The mercenary group, people of which are hired to fight for money and they are not part of an official military, is estimated to have around 25,000 soldiers, compared to an estimated 800,000 active soldiers in the Russian army.