Speaking during an emergency televised address in Moscow on Saturday, President Vladimir Putin has promised that he would not allow Russia to slip into civil war, after Yevgeny Prighozin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary force, seized a key military headquarters overseeing the offensive in Ukraine.
“I appeal to the citizens of Russia, to the personnel of the armed forces, law enforcement and security services, fighters and commanders currently fighting on their positions, repelling the enemy attacks, doing it heroically.
I spoke to the commanders in all directions last night. I appeal also to those who were deceptively pulled into the criminal adventure, pushed towards a serious crime of an armed mutiny.
Today Russia is fighting fiercely for its future, repelling the aggression of neo-Nazis and their handlers. Directed against us is the whole military, economical and information machines of the West.
We fight for the lives and security of our people; for our sovereignty and independence; for the right to remain Russia, a state with a thousand-year history.
Russians were killing Russians, brothers killing brothers. The beneficiaries of that were various political chevaliers of fortune and foreign powers who divided the country, and tore it into parts.
As a president of Russia and the commander-in-chief, as a citizen of Russia, I will do everything to defend the country, protect the Constitution, lives and safety, liberty of the citizens.
I believe that we will defend and preserve what’s sacred for us. And together with the motherland, we will overcome all challenges, and become even stronger.