Saturday, May 18, 2024

Wagner appears to be moving in the direction of Moscow

Verified information from the ground is relatively sparse but Wagner troops appear to be moving north in the direction of Moscow, media reports said on Saturday.

This morning, Wagner mercenaries were seen in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don; later, reports came that Wagner troops were in Voronezh, 560km (354 miles) north, the BBC reported.

Now, the governor of the Lipetsk region, north of Voronezh, said Wagner troops are moving through the region, it said.

Moscow lies only 400km north. It’s not clear how many troops Wagner has in each place, or how large the group seen in Lipetsk was.

The Governor of the Lipetsk region, Igor Artamonov, has confirmed that Wagner is moving “equipment” in the region, BBC reported.

A social media video showed a Wagner convoy of armed vehicles travelling in the region of Lipetsk, which is located between the city of Voronezh and Moscow.

Writing on social media, Artamonov said: “Law enforcement agencies and authorities… are taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the population. The situation is under control.”

He also reminded residents that “they are strongly advised not to leave their homes and avoid travelling by any means”, BBC reported.

There have been numerous reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s presidential plane took off from Moscow’s Vnukovo airport and then headed north-west, The Guardian reported.

According to data from the FlightRadar tracking website, the plane reached the Tver area – about 110 miles from Moscow and where Putin has a residence – before disappearing from the system, The Guardian reported.

It has not been possible to confirm whether Putin was on the plane and his spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, has told the Tass news agency the President is “working in the Kremlin”.

The simmering conflict between Moscow’s military leadership and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the bombastic chief of private mercenary group Wagner, has exploded into an open insurrection that plunges Russia into renewed uncertainty and the very real threat of civil war, CNN reported.

Prigozhin unleashed a new tirade against the Russian military on Friday and then marched his troops into the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.

President Putin called Wagner’s actions “treason” and has vowed to punish those behind the “armed uprising”, CNN reported.

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