Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to crush an armed mutiny after the private army of mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin seized control of a southern city as part of an attempt to oust the military leadership.
Here is a timeline of events as they have unfolded over the last 24 hours.
Prigozhin releases a video stepping up his feud with Russia’s military top brass and for the first time rejects Moscow’s core justifications for invading Ukraine.
– In a series of subsequent audio recordings posted on Telegram, Prigozhin says the “evil” of Russia’s military leadership “must be stopped” and his Wagner mercenary force will lead a “march for justice” against the Russian military.
– Russia’s FSB security service responds by opening a criminal case against Prigozhin, saying he has called for armed mutiny.
– The deputy commander of Russia’s Ukraine campaign, General Sergei Surovikin, urges the Wagner militia to give up their opposition to the military leadership and return to their bases.
– Prigozhin says his men have crossed border from Ukraine into Russia and are ready to go “all the way” against the Russian military.
Wagner fighters have entered the southern Russian city of Rostov, Prigozhin says in an audio recording posted on Telegram.
– The White House says it is monitoring the situation involving Russia and the Wagner force, and will be consulting with allies and partners on developments.
– Russian Prosecutor-General Igor Krasnov formally informs Putin about the criminal case that had been opened against Prigozhin, for armed mutiny.
– The governor of southern Russia’s Rostov region adjoining Ukraine tells residents to remain calm and stay indoors as it becomes clear that Wagner forces have taken control of the city of Rostov.
– Russian’s defence ministry issues a statement appealing to Wagner fighters to abandon Prigozhin, saying they have been “deceived and dragged into a criminal adventure”.
– A Russian security source tells Reuters that Wagner fighters have taken control of all military facilities in the city of Voronezh, around 500 km (300 miles) south of Moscow.
– Putin makes a televised address vowing to crush what he calls an armed mutiny. He accuses Prigozhin of “treason” and a “stab in the back.”
– Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a Putin ally, says his forces are ready to help put down the mutiny by Prigozhin and to use harsh methods if necessary.
– European governments including Britain, France, Germany and Italy issue statements saying they are closely watching developments in Russia.
– Russian military helicopters open fire on a convoy of rebel mercenaries already more than half way towards Moscow in a lightning advance after seizing Rostov overnight.
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– Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says “Russia’s weakness is obvious” and that the longer Moscow keeps its troops and mercenaries in Ukraine, the more chaos it will invite back home.