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Wagner's head projection appeared on video at Russian military headquarters

 The head of the mercenary group claims to control parts of the complex in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don.

Obtained by Reuters




Men in military uniforms, whom filmers and bystanders identified as Wagner fighters, surrounded and then occupied a Russian military headquarters compound in the city of Rostov-on-Don on June 24.


Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner group of mercenaries, claims to have taken control of several key military installations in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. Video verified by The New York Times shows they entered a key military complex on Saturday morning.

In the videos, Mr. Prigozhin can be seen with dozens of armed men in the courtyard of the Southern Military District headquarters, a key strategic command center in Russia's war against Ukraine. Mr. Prigozhin said his forces would blockade the city and head toward Moscow until senior Russian officials arrived to meet with them.

It is unclear how much of the compound Wagner's forces controlled, although President Vladimir V. Putin confirmed in a televised address that many civilian and military events in Rostov-on-Don were forced to halt. had gone.

More videos circulating on the Internet and confirmed by The Times show dozens of soldiers getting out of military vehicles and pointing towards a military compound in Rostov-on-Don. He is also seen active in other important positions, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Rostov region. The videos were released just hours after Prigozhon claimed that Russia had attacked his forces in Ukraine and said he was sending a contingent of troops to Russia to retaliate.

Mr. Prigozhon on Friday accused the Russian military of attacking his mercenaries, adding to a long-running dispute with the Russian military over the war in Ukraine. Russia's prosecutor general announced a few hours later that Mr. Prigozhin was being investigated "on suspicion of organizing an armed uprising".

Since then, the scene in the city of over a million people has been tense and opaque. In videos shared on Telegram, tanks can be seen rolling down streets, soldiers jumping out of trucks and surrounding military headquarters. These troops are widely believed to be the Wagner forces.

The Southern Military District is the smallest of Russia's four regional military authorities, but it has played an important role in the war. Units from the command have fought in Ukraine's Zaporizhia and Donetsk regions.

Adding to the confusion arising from Rostov-on-Don, civilian onlookers near the display of military force appear unusually calm. In videos circulating on the Internet, some people can be seen smoking and drinking beer, and a street cleaner cleans up garbage.

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