Russia was plunged into a crisis when the leader of the country’s biggest mercenary army Wagner, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, declared to have mobilized 25,000 of the group’s fighters to march against the military elite in Moscow and called on Russian troops to join him. In the morning of the 24th of June he seized control of all military sites in the city of Rostov-on-Don and demanded that the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, and Russia’s top general, Valery Gerasimov come to him after accusing them of killing his forces. At around 10 a.m. Moscow time, Putin addressed the nation. He vowed to crush the Prigozhin-led rebellion.
Prigozhin responded by moving 5.000 Wagner soldiers to Moscow. In the meantime Moscow braced for Wagner’s approach. Roadblocks were put up on most routes into the capital. But after marching through several cities on a sweeping path toward Moscow, Prigozhin published an audio recording claiming he was turning his forces around and exile to Belarus.