Russian mercenary chief Prigozhin to be charged with inciting armed rebellion — state media News
Photos: Wikimedia Commons // CC 3.0
Russian mercenary chief Prigozhin to be charged with inciting armed rebellion — state media

Russian authorities have initiated criminal proceedings against mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin on grounds of incitement to armed rebellion, Russian state-controlled media reported Friday, citing security and anti-terrorism authorities.

Earlier Friday, Wagner mercenary group chief Prigozhin — a longtime associate of President Vladimir Putin — released a series of videos accusing Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of having derailed Moscow’s war against Ukraine. He argued that the conflict could have been avoided — suggesting Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky had been ready to negotiate before Russian troops invaded, Among myriad claims he leveled against Russia’s top brass were those that the Defense Ministry had lied to Putin and to the people of Russia about Kyiv’s intentions ahead of the invasion, that Russia’s initial advance in February 2022 would have been “unstoppable” if not for a series of blunders by Shoigu, and that Russian military forces were responsible for a deadly missile attack on a Wagner camp in Ukraine, according to quotes compiled by the Harvard Kennedy School-based Russia Matters project. He then vowed to “restore justice,” saying of Shoigu: “This creature will be stopped,” according to the Wagner Group’s Telegram account.

The Ministry of Defense denied Prigozhin’s accusations. Shortly thereafter, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) initiated a criminal case against Yevgeny Prigozhin for incitement to armed rebellion, state-controlled RIA Novosti reported, citing sources in the National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NATC). The sources reportedly added that none of Prigozhin’s statements were based in fact. “In connection with this, the FSB has launched a criminal case regarding the incitement to armed rebellion. We demand an immediate cessation of unlawful actions,” the government sources stated, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

This is a developing story.