Russian Ministry of Defense warns Wagner fighters against taking part in ‘armed coup’

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The Russian Ministry of Defense has urged Wagner Group private military company soldiers to cease their armed insurrection, urging them to return to their bases.

In a statement on Saturday, the ministry claimed that members of the PMC “have been tricked into taking part in [Wagner group chief Evgeny] Prigozhin’s criminal gamble,” adding that some Wagner fighters “have already understood their mistake” and have asked the authorities for help in safely returning to their permanent deployment areas.

“This assistance has already been provided to those soldiers and commanders who sought it,” the ministry stated, asking Wagner members to “show prudence and get in touch with representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry of law enforcement agencies as soon as possible.”

“We guarantee everyone’s safety,” the statement said.

The ministry’s appeal comes after Evgeny Prigozhin accused the Russian Defense Ministry on Friday of carrying out a missile strike on a PMC camp, which he said resulted in multiple casualties, while promising a response. The Defense Ministry denied the allegation, and the Russian authorities say the FSB has opened a criminal investigation into Prigozhin for allegedly advocating a mutiny.

On Saturday morning, media outlets reported increased military activity in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, with videos showing tanks and groups of soldiers moving on the streets.

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