Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch, a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the bombastic chief of private mercenary group Wagner said in a video address released on Telegram channel on Friday that his troops had crossed all state borders and marched into the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
The dramatic turn of events began on Friday when Prigozhin openly accused Russia’s military of attacking a Wagner camp and killing a “huge amount” of his men. He vowed to retaliate with force, insinuating that his forces would “destroy” any resistance, including roadblocks and aircraft.
“There are 25,000 of us and we are going to find out why there is such chaos in the country,” he said.
In a released video, Prigozhin said his forces would blockade Rostov-on-Don unless Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russia’s top general Valery Gerasimov came to meet him.
Prigozhin has spent months railing against Shoigu and Gerasimov who he blames for Moscow’s faltering invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has strongly denied attacking Wagner troops, calling the claim “informational propaganda.” And the FSB also opened a criminal case against Prigozhin for his threats, accusing him of calling for “an armed rebellion.”