Lisa Haseldine Lisa Haseldine

Full text: Putin on Wagner coup

(Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin has just released a speech to Russians after the Wagner mercenary group took over Russian military headquarters in the south of the country in what is described by the Kremlin as an attempted coup. Full text below.

‘We are fighting for the life and security of our people, for our sovereignty and independence, for the right to be and remain Russian: a state with a 1,000-year history. This battle, when the fate of our people is being decided, requires the cohesion of all forces: unity, consolidation and responsibility. We must throw aside everything that weakens us, any strife that our external enemies can and will use to undermine us from within.

Actions that threaten our unity represent apostasy against our people, from our comrades-in-arms, now fighting at the front. This is a stab in the back of our country and our people. Such a blow was dealt to Russia in 1917, when the country was waging the First World War – but victory was stolen from it. Intrigues, squabbles, politicking behind the backs of the army and the people turned into the greatest shock, the destruction of the army and the collapse of the state, the loss of vast territories. Russians killed their Russian brothers. All sorts of political adventurers and foreign forces then divided the country, tore it apart and took advantage for selfish gain. We won’t let this happen again.

We will protect both our people and our statehood from any threats, including internal betrayal. And what we are faced with is precisely that: betrayal, exorbitant ambitions and personal interests that led to treason against our country, our people and the cause for which, side by side with our other units and subunits, soldiers fought and died and commanders of the Wagner Group.

Those who are trying to organize a rebellion are pushing the country towards anarchy and fratricide towards defeat and ultimate capitulation.

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