Top Russian Generals Beg Wagner to ‘Stop’ the ‘State Coup’

  • Russian generals are calling out Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, asking for troops to remain calm.
  • The testimonial videos from the generals come after Prigozhin called for “payback” on Russian forces.
  • Russia opened a criminal case against Prigozhin and charged him with organizing “an armed insurrection.”

Russian generals have published videos appealing to Wagner Group and its forces to disregard chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s recent calls for revenge, in hopes of avoiding a civil war.

On Friday, two top Russian generals appeared solemnly in front of similar beige walls, urging Wagner forces to focus their energy on combating Ukrainian forces, instead of Russia’s army. 

The videos were published hours after Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin called for “payback” against Russia, accusing the Kremlin of launching missile attacks against his troops.

In one response, Sergei Surovikin, a Russian general who has been linked to Prigozhin, urged Wagner’s leader and mercenaries to calm down, per The Financial Times.

“The enemy is only waiting for our domestic political situation to get inflamed. Don’t play into the enemy’s hands in this difficult time for the country!” Sergei Surovikin said in the video, released after Prigozhin’s comments.


Vladimir Alekseyev, another Russian general who was close to Wagner, also issued a video blasting Prigozhin and his claims, appealing to his troops and Wagner’s to avoid a domestic scuffle.

“God forbid we have a civil war. There is no worse image for our country than what is happening now,” Alekseyev said, according to a translation from Samuel Bendett from the Center for Naval Analyses. “We did not hit Wagner positions. This is stab in Russia’s back.”

“This is a state coup,” Alekseyev added, per the FT.

Earlier on Friday, Prigozhin called Russia’s defense ministry “evil,” and accused Russian forces of targeting his mercenary forces with missile strikes and mines, killing “many” of them.

“PMC Wagner Commanders’ Council made a decision: the evil brought by the military leadership of the country must be stopped,” Prigozhin said in his video, walking among debris. “I’m asking: no one resist. Everyone who will try to resist, we will consider them a danger and destroy them immediately, including any checkpoints on our way.” 

Prigozhin’s bombastic comments were quickly met with the FSB, Russia’s state security, opening a criminal case against him — adding that his claim that Russian forces targeted his troops hold “no basis.”

“In connection with these statements, the FSB of Russia initiated a criminal case on the fact of calling for an armed rebellion,” the FSB said in a statement. “We demand an immediate stop to illegal actions.”

On Friday, Russia’s Prosecutor General charged Prigozhin with organizing “an armed insurrection,” making him a wanted man with the potential of 20 years in prison.

The latest escalation in the feud, stemming from March, comes after Prigozhin claimed that Russian troops attacked Wagner group positions with missile strikes. Prigozhin has routinely criticized Russia’s military incompetence since the start of the war, recently claiming that the Russian military leadership has lied about battlefield losses.

According to Reuters, Prigozhin — who claims his forces are the most effective — refused to sign an order with a July 1 deadline, which would tie his group more closely to Russia’s Defense Ministry. 

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