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    Putin Calls Armed Rebellion by Mercenary Chief a Betrayal and Vows to Defend Russia

    Putin Calls Armed Rebellion by Mercenary Chief a Betrayal and Vows to Defend Russia

    President Vladimir Putin vowed Saturday to defend against an armed rebellion by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led his troops out of and into a key city south of Moscow.

    The uprising, which Putin called “a stab in the back,” was the biggest threat to his leadership in over two decades in .

    The private army led by Prigozhin appears to control the military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, a city 660 miles south of Moscow that runs Russian offensive operations in Ukraine, Britain's Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence briefing.

    In his address, Putin called the uprising by Prigozhin, whom he did not mention by name, a “betrayal” and “treason.”

    “All those who prepared the rebellion will suffer inevitable punishment,” Putin said. “The armed forces and other government agencies have received the necessary orders.”

    Prigozhin called himself a patriot.

    “Regarding the betrayal of the motherland, the president was deeply mistaken. We are patriots of our homeland,” he said in an audio message on his Telegram channel.

    He said his fighters would not turn themselves in at the request of Putin, as “we do not want the country to on in corruption, deceit and bureaucracy.”

    Prigozhin's Wagner private military contractor has been fighting alongside Russian troops in Ukraine. It wasn't immediately clear what his aims were, but the rebellion marks an escalation in…

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