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“Astonishing escalation” – Security tightened in Moscow



Russia is set to prosecute mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin for armed mutiny after he accused military leaders of killing 2,000 of his fighters.

Russian generals call for Wagner troops to “come to their senses”

Russian generals released videos urging Wagner Group troops to lay down their arms “before it’s too late.”

A video posted online by Gen. Sergey Surovikin, who led all Russian forces in Ukraine until January, called Prigozhin an “enemy” who is “waiting for the domestic political situation in our country to worsen.” Russian soldiers and Wagner mercenaries, meanwhile, “are of the same blood,” he added.

Those marching on Russia needed to “obey the will and order of the popularly elected president of the Russian Federation, stop the columns, return them to their permanent deployment points and concentration areas, solve all problems only by peaceful means,” Surovikin said.

Another video posted online described the actions as a “stab in the back of the country and the president” by Gen. Vladimir Alekseev.

As a fighter alongside them since 2014, he urged them to come to their senses.

“This is a coup d’état,” he said.

There is now the possibility of a confrontation between Wagner’s mercenaries and Russian troops, analysts say.

Yevgeny Prigozhin said the “evil” in the military leadership must be stopped and vowed to “march for justice”.

It represents an escalation of infighting inside Russia more than a year after the war in Ukraine began.

In an audio message posted to the social media platform Telegram, he said “huge numbers” of his fighters had been killed in a strike by the Russian military.

“Those who killed our lads, and tens of thousands of lives of Russian soldiers [in the war in Ukraine] will be punished,” he said.

“I ask you not to resist. Anyone who does will be considered a threat and destroyed. That goes for any checkpoints and aviation on our way.

“Presidential power, the government, the police and Russian guard will work as usual.

“This is not a military coup, but a march of justice. Our actions do not interfere with the troops in any way.”

“Tanks on the streets”

There is an increased military presence on the streets of Moscow amid tensions with the Wagner Group.

Senior American intelligence official tells Jim LaPorta, a reporter at The Messenger, that Wagner Group is preparing to mobilize and it is believed they want to ‘head towards Moscow’

As a long-running standoff between him and the Defence Ministry appeared to come to a head late on Friday, the ministry issued a statement denying Prigozhin’s accusations and denouncing them as “informational provocation.”

Kyiv, meanwhile, said the major thrust in its counteroffensive against Moscow’s invasion had yet to be launched. “The main blow is still to come,” Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar told Ukrainian television.

A top Ukrainian general reported “tangible successes” in advances in the south – one of two main theatres of operations, along with eastern Ukraine.

Growing resentment

Russian forces there have been fighting alongside mercenaries from the Wagner private military company, whose leader Prigozhin vowed to stop what he called the Russian military’s “evil”. He denied his actions amounted to a coup.

However, Russia’s FSB security service opened a criminal case against him for calling for an armed mutiny, the TASS news agency said, citing the National Anti-terrorism Committee.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was briefed on the developments and “necessary measures are being taken”, Interfax news agency said, citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Security was stepped up on Friday night at government buildings, transport facilities and other key locations in Moscow, the state news agency TASS reported, citing a source at a security service.

“Obey the President”

The deputy commander of Russia’s Ukraine campaign, General Sergei Surovikin, told Wagner fighters to obey Putin, accept Moscow’s commanders and return to their bases. He said political deterioration would play into the hands of Russia’s enemies.

“I urge you to stop,” Surovikin said in a video posted on Telegram, his right hand resting on a rifle.

The standoff, many of the details of which remained unclear, looked like the biggest domestic crisis Putin has faced since he sent thousands of troops into Ukraine in February last year.

The Kremlin has also said “necessary measures are being taken”, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

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COP28: Global effort to phase out fossil fuels



World leaders at COP28 have intensified their commitment to combat climate change by embarking on a bold initiative to phase out fossil fuels.

The United Nations climate talks, held in a virtual format due to ongoing pandemic concerns, saw representatives from nearly 200 countries coming together to address the urgent need for action on the climate crisis.

The decision to focus on ending fossil fuel use marks a significant departure from previous climate negotiations.

Countries have traditionally grappled with setting emissions reduction targets, but this year’s conference places a strong emphasis on the need to transition away from the reliance on coal, oil, and natural gas. Experts argue that this shift is critical to limiting global temperature rise and avoiding the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

Key highlights of the COP28 agreement include setting ambitious deadlines for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, promoting renewable energy sources, and encouraging the development of green technologies.

The conference also established a fund to support developing nations in their transition away from fossil fuels, recognizing that these countries often face the greatest challenges in achieving sustainability.

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Russian police raid Moscow gay clubs



Russian authorities conducted raids on several gay clubs in Moscow, according to reports from various media outlets.

The raids have sent shockwaves through the LGBTQ+ community and have raised concerns about the ongoing crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights in Russia.

Eyewitnesses and clubgoers describe a heavy police presence during the raids, with officers reportedly detaining patrons and staff members.

The reasons behind these raids remain unclear, but they have ignited a fierce debate on social media and within human rights organizations.

International LGBTQ+ rights advocates are calling on the Russian government to address these actions and protect the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ individuals in the country.

The raids have also drawn attention to Russia’s controversial “gay propaganda” law, which has been criticized for its potential to fuel discrimination and violence against LGBTQ+ people.

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UK delays Jeff Zucker’s Telegraph deal for inquiry



The UK government has decided to put a hold on the proposed acquisition of The Telegraph newspaper by media mogul Jeff Zucker’s conglomerate.

According to a recent report, this decision has been made in order to conduct further investigations into potential regulatory concerns surrounding the deal.

The move comes amidst growing concerns over media consolidation and its impact on media diversity and competition.

The government aims to ensure that the acquisition would not result in a concentration of media power that could potentially stifle independent journalism and diverse voices in the industry.

This decision has sparked debates about the balance between media ownership and the preservation of media plurality in the UK. Supporters of the deal argue that it could lead to much-needed investments in The Telegraph, while critics worry about the potential for Zucker’s conglomerate to wield too much influence over the media landscape.

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