Last night word broke that Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner group, had claimed that the Russian military had conducted a missile strike on his troops. He denounced Russian military leadership and said that the Ukraine invasion had been conducted under false pretenses. Reports started to roll in, accompanied by unverified video, that Prigozhin was rolling his forces towards Russia.
Analysts warned observers to be cautious: all we really knew was Prigozhin’s recorded statements. And these people are all liars.
Well, now Putin himself has confirmed that there is a coup attempt in full swing. And he doesn’t seem pleased:
Putin’s full national address condemning the insurrection, with English-language subtitles. pic.twitter.com/i0sRCe3Dbw
— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) June 24, 2023
This is a suicide mission, I would think. It’s very hard to imagine this coup attempt being successful. If you don’t think Putin has planned for this sort of thing, you don’t know Putin.
Very interesting. Hard to know what it will mean for Ukraine’s counteroffensive. You might think that facing down a genuine military coup attempt would distract the Russian military, which is bombing its own fuel depots to deny resources to Wagner . . . but it could cause Putin to act desperately to display that all-important “strength.”
For what it’s worth, Putin appears to have left Moscow, as confirmed by government spokesmen denying it:
Putin's plane left for St Petersburg, and Peskov promptly denied Putin leaving Moscow, which in good old Russian tradition assured the population Putin has left Moscow. pic.twitter.com/fjkr7BhVVB
— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) June 24, 2023
Updates as they become available.
UPDATE: Start making popcorn:
🍿🍿🍿 Ukrainian drone commander who fought Wagner forces in Bakhmut and Soledar appears to be thoroughly enjoying the insurrection unfolding across the border. pic.twitter.com/rSqGdrVlrT
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) June 24, 2023
UPDATE: How long has Prigozhin been planning this?
Explains Western intel saying Prigo was dramatizing the ammo shortfall. If this is true, he was stockpiling it for exactly this moment. https://t.co/HgMUFpRr3t
— Michael Weiss (@michaeldweiss) June 24, 2023
UPDATE: Looks like a potential mass exodus of elites to St. Petersburg.
Are the elites fleeing?
It is reported that Prime Minister Mishustin's plane has left for St. Petersburg.
Several other business jets are also on their way to Russia's northern capital.
In addition, the richest member of the government, Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov,… pic.twitter.com/zRh0d1Llxe
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) June 24, 2023
UPDATE: The Daily Telegraph (which is conducting a live Twitter Spaces episode of its Ukraine podcast as we speak) reports that Russian helicopters are currently bombing the Wagner convoy:
Russian military helicopters have opened fire on a convoy of rebel mercenaries already more than half way towards Moscow in a lightning advance after seizing a southern city overnight, Reuters has confirmed.
. . . .
A Reuters journalist saw army helicopters open fire at an armed Wagner column that was advancing past the city of Voronezh with troop carriers and at least one tank on a flatbed truck. The city is more than half way along the 680-mile highway from Rostov to Moscow.
UPDATE: Zelensky’s statement:
Everyone who chooses the path of evil destroys himself. Who sends columns of troops to destroy the lives of another country and cannot stop them from fleeing and betraying when life resists. Who terrorizes with missiles, and when they are shot down, humiliates himself to receive…
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) June 24, 2023
UPDATE: This fellow questions the conclusion (expressed in a tweet linked in this post) about Russia bombing its own fuel depot.
UPDATE: And just like that … he’s gone. https://twitter.com/faytuks/status/1672658108143812608