(LibertySociety.com) – Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee opened a criminal investigation into Wagner Group commander Yevgeny Prigozhin on June 24, on charges of calling for an armed rebellion. This announcement by the Federal Security Services agency came after the chief of the private military contractor called for the removal of Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
In different videos and audio recordings posted on Telegram, Prigozhin accused Shoigu of ordering a missile attack against Wagner’s field camps. He added that he wasn’t calling for a “military coup” but for a march “of justice.” Wagner’s chief also said that “the evil” that Russia’s military has in its leadership needs to be “stopped,” and that anyone who stands in his way will be “destroyed.” Finally, he called Russian military officers in the country to stop following Shoigu’s orders and join him in his fight against the defense minister.
In a statement, Russia’s Defense Ministry denied the attacks. The agency also said in a separate statement that Prigozhin’s allegations were “groundless” and demanded him to end these “illegal actions.”
According to different reports, the Kremlin has taken this threat seriously and deployed the riot police and National Guard all across Moscow. The Washington Post reported that a senior Western intelligence official believes that Prigozhin is planning to go to Russia’s capital and overthrow the government.
US National Security Spokesman Adam Hoge told Fox News in a statement that the White House is monitoring the situation in Russia. He also said Washington will be consulting with its international allies on this crisis, and said that President Joe Biden has already been briefed.
During an interview with this network, former DIA intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler said that the private military contractor has gone “too far” in its feud with the Federal Security Services. She added this is a “major headache” for the Russian government as the battle between both groups could have severe consequences for the Kremlin.
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