Russia urges Wagner fighters to surrender, law enforcement officers block PMC Wagner Center

By Xinhua
On 25 June 2023 at 07:54

The PMC Wagner Center in St. Petersburg was cordoned off by security forces on Saturday after the Wagner private military group was accused of attempting to carry out an armed rebellion while its fighters were urged by the Russian Ministry of Defense to surrender.

The Russian Ministry of Defense denied information about the Russian Armed Forces striking the rear camps of the Wagner PMC, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, stating that Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed about the situation and that all necessary measures were being taken.

A correspondent of Xinhua News Agency witnessed several police cars parked in or around the compound of the center, with several law enforcement officers on duty. Neighborhoods are currently calm.

A criminal case is being initiated against Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner private military group, for incitement to armed insurrection, the Public Relations Center of the Russian Federal Security Service said earlier on Saturday, calling on Wagner PMC fighters not to carry out Prigozhin’s orders and to take measures to detain him.

The appeal came after several audio recordings were posted on Prigozhin’s Telegram channel. In these recordings, Prigozhin claimed that his units had allegedly come under attack, accusing Russia’s military leadership of orchestrating the strikes, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

The Russian Ministry of Defense issued a statement declaring that information disseminated on social networks on behalf of Prigozhin about a strike by the Russian Armed Forces on Wagner PMC rear camps is false.

In addition, the ministry stated that the Russian Armed Forces continue to carry out combat missions on the line of contact with the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) in an area where a special military operation is being conducted.

Kiev is concentrating units of 35th and 36th Marine Brigades UAF in Bakhmut’s direction for offensive actions, "taking advantage of Prigozhin’s provocation on the disorganization of the situation," said the Russian ministry.

Moscow’s critical facilities have been put under reinforced protection, and security measures in the capital have been increased, according to TASS.

"Due to the oncoming information, counter-terrorism measures, aimed at reinforcement of security measures, are in effect in Moscow. Increased traffic control has been introduced on roads. Restriction of mass events is possible," said Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin on his Telegram channel.

As a result of these developments, security measures have been significantly reinforced in Moscow. Vital facilities, state institutions, and transportation infrastructure have been placed under heightened protection, with police and response units on high alert, a TASS news agency report said.

Also on Saturday, Putin had a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the reported rebellion of the Wagner private military group. The two leaders discussed the latest developments in Russia, according to a statement by Erdogan’s office.

Policemen stand guard in Moscow, Russia, June 24, 2023.(Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr/Xinhua)