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Vladimir Putin has admitted the situation in Rostov-on-Don is “complicated” after Yevgeny Prigozhin’s forces seized command points in the southern city and called on the Wagner mercenary group’s rank-and-file to lay down their arms.

“Those who organised and prepared the military uprising, who took arms against their comrades, have betrayed Russia. And will pay for it. And I call on those who they are trying to drag into this crime not to commit a fatal and tragic, irreversible mistake, and to make the only right choice — to stop participating in this crime,” the Russian president said.

Putin likened the warlord’s uprising to the collapse of the Russian state in 1917.

In his address to the nation about the Wagner paramilitary commander’s “march of justice” against Russia’s army, the Russian president said Russia would take “decisive measures to stabilise the situation” in Rostov-on-Don, a southern city home to a major Russian command point where Prigozhin claimed to have taken over all military facilities.

“The work of civil and military command is essentially blockaded,” Putin said.

Putin said Russia’s armed forces had also “received essential orders” for “additional measures of an anti-terrorist nature” in Moscow and “several other regions.”

The step essentially puts the FSB, Russia’s main security service, in charge of the areas and gives it the right to detain anyone, seize anything, or raid any place they see fit. 

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