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Russian Helicopters Battle Wagner Mercenaries Rolling Toward Moscow

PARIS - Russia is facing an unprecedented crisis as a rebel faction of Wagner Group, a private military company loyal to businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, has launched mutiny against President Vladimir Putin and his government.

The mercenaries, who have fought in Ukraine, Syria, Libya and other conflict zones on behalf of Russia, have seized control of Rostov-on-Don, a strategic city near the border with Ukraine, and are advancing rapidly toward Moscow along the M-4 highway.

Russian military helicopters have opened fire on the rebel convoy, which consists of troop carriers, armored vehicles, and at least one tank. The rebels have reportedly reached Voronezh, a city more than halfway to Moscow.

Prigozhin, who is also known as "Putin's chef" because of his catering contracts with the Kremlin, has accused the Russian leadership of corruption and deceit and has demanded that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov come to Rostov to negotiate with him.

Putin has vowed to crush the rebellion, which he compared to the civil war that followed the 1917 revolution. He said that the rebels were traitors who had betrayed their country and their people.

The mutiny has raised alarm in Westen capitals, as Russia is a nuclear-armed power with global interests and influence. The US and its allies have urged restraint and dialogue while expressing support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.



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