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Russia warns West against taking advantage of armed mutiny

Members of Wagner group inspect a car in a street of Rostov-on-Don, on June 24, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Russia has warned the West against trying to exploit an armed mutiny by the Wagner private military group against Moscow for their "Russophobic goals."

The Russian foreign ministry cautioned “the Western countries against any hint of the possible use of the domestic Russian situation to achieve their Russophobic goals.”

"All goals and objectives of the special military operation will be fulfilled," it said in a statement, referring to Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine.

The leader of the Wagner Group, a paramilitary organization that has been fighting alongside Russian forces in Ukraine, said in an audio message on Friday that the "evil which the Russian military leadership carries must be stopped.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the "armed mutiny," as treason. He pledged that anyone who had taken up arms against the Russian military would be punished.

“Any internal turmoil is a deadly threat to our statehood and to us as a nation. This is a blow to Russia and to our people," Putin said, demanding national unity.

In the meantime, the Ukrainian deputy defense minister described the incident as a "window of opportunity" for Kiev.

Moscow has opened a criminal case against Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and declared an anti-terrorist operation regime in and around Moscow amid reports that Wagner forces are moving towards the capital city.

Russian forces have launched a counter-terrorist operation to halt the militia’s advance in the Voronezh region.

And the Russian Defense Ministry urged the fighters to return to their bases, saying it will guarantee their safety.

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