Putin breaks silence after Wagner rebellion but fails to mention uprising

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    Vladimir Putin has broken his silence after the historic madness in Russia yesterday, saying his 'special military operation' is still in full swing.

    It comes after the leader of Russian mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, left for Belarus last night — with all charges against him dropped by Putin after the coup was stood down.

    Speaking on Russian state television, Putin said: "We feel confident, and, of course, we are in a position to implement all the plans and tasks ahead of us [in Ukraine].

    READ MORE: Wagner boss Prigozhin says 'March of Justice' to Moscow over as 'blood may spill'

    "This also applies to the country's defence, it applies to the special military operation, it applies to the economy as a whole and its individual areas."

    Prigozhin ordered his mercenaries to halt their march 200km (120miles) from Moscow to "avoid shedding Russian blood", the Mirror reported.

    He put out a voicenote on his Telegram channel saying he has agreed to "stop" the movement of troops.

    Prigozhin will move to Belarus under a deal brokered by the Belarusian president to end the armed mutiny against Russia's military leadership, the Kremlin said.

    And pictures show the former Kremlin chef getting a hero's welcome as he arrived back at the Wagner base in Rostov. He posed for pictures with adoring fans before the 62-year-old reportedly headed for exile.

    The Wagner boss and his fighters will also be safe from prosecution under the agreement, it added.

    • Airport worker killed after being sucked into plane engine in freak horror

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Alexander Lukashenko had offered to mediate, with Putin's agreement, because he had known Prigozhin personally for around 20 years.

    It comes as the group made their advances towards the Russian city, having seized control of Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia.

    Putin's troops seized control of roads and have begun placing sandbags along the roadsides.

    In a national address yesterday morning, Putin said Russia's future is at stake, describing the actions of mutineers as a "stab in the back".

    And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has responded to the unfolding situation, saying: "Russia's weakness is obvious."

    Meanwhile, Britain's Ministry of Defence described the Wagner armed rebellion as "the most significant challenge to the Russian state in recent times".

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