Putin calls Wagner mutiny 'stab in the back' of Russia

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has termed a recent military mutiny led by the Wagner paramilitary group as a “stab in the back” of Russia.

In a televised address early on Saturday, Putin called Wagner chief Yvegney Prigozhin's military coup a “treason”, according to remarks covered in new agencies.

He warned that the paramilitary leader had stabbed Russia in the back, adding that Moscow will move to crush any such move.

He went on to say that measures against Wagner "will be very hard” as the feared militia group is sweeping into Rostov-on-Don, a city in southwestern Russia near Ukraine.

Putin’s remarks come after Prigozhin on Friday declared that his 25,000-strong force were marching into Rostov-on-Don.

Prigozhin made the move in fury at what he claimed was Moscow's attack on his men and said he intends to march to Moscow to take on defense chiefs.

"All those who deliberately stepped on the path of betrayal, who prepared an armed insurrection, who took the path of blackmail and terrorist methods, will suffer inevitable punishment, will answer both to the law and to our people," Reuters quoted Putin as saying.

The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) has opened a criminal case against Prigozhin for armed mutiny.