‘Internal betrayal’ in Russia: Transcript of Putin’s address

The Russian president says his country is fighting for its future, as he accuses Wagner chief Prighozin of fomenting armed civil conflict.

Speaking during an emergency televised address in Moscow on Saturday, President Vladimir Putin has promised that he would not allow Russia to slip into civil war, after Yevgeny Prighozin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary force, seized a key military headquarters overseeing the offensive in Ukraine.

Below is the full transcript of Putin’s address:

“I appeal to the citizens of Russia, to the personnel of the armed forces, law enforcement and security services, fighters and commanders currently fighting on their positions, repelling the enemy attacks, doing it heroically.

I spoke to the commanders in all directions last night. I appeal also to those who were deceptively pulled into the criminal adventure, pushed towards a serious crime of an armed mutiny.

Today Russia is fighting fiercely for its future, repelling the aggression of neo-Nazis and their handlers. Directed against us is the whole military, economical and information machines of the West.

We fight for the lives and security of our people; for our sovereignty and independence; for the right to remain Russia, a state with a thousand-year history.

This battle, where the fate of our people is being decided, requires all our forces to be united; unity, consolidation and responsibility. Everything that weakens us must be put to the side, any differences that may be used or are used by our enemies to disrupt us from within.

Thus, the actions splitting our unity are a betrayal of our people, of our brothers in combat who fight now at the front line. It’s a stab in the back of our country and our people.

It was such a blow that was dealt to Russia in 1917 when the country was fighting in World War I, but its victory was stolen.

Intrigues, bickering and politicking behind the back of the army and the people turned out to be the greatest catastrophe, the destruction of the army and the state, loss of huge territories, resulting in a tragedy and a civil war.

Russians were killing Russians, brothers killing brothers. The beneficiaries of that were various political chevaliers of fortune and foreign powers who divided the country, and tore it into parts.

We will not let this happen again. We will protect our people and state from any threats, including internal betrayal. What we’re facing is exactly a betrayal.

Big ambitions and personal interests led to treason. Betrayal of one’s own country and people and of the cause that fighters of Wagner were dying for alongside our soldiers. Heroes who liberated Soledar and Artemovsk, towns and cities of the Donbas, who fought and gave their lives to Novorossiya and for the unity of the Russian world. Their name and glory have been betrayed by those who are trying to organise the mutiny, pushing the country into anarchy and fratricide, to a defeat, in the end, and capitulation.

I repeat: any internal mutiny is a deadly threat to our state, to us as a nation. It’s a blow against Russia, against our people. And our actions to defend the fatherland from such a threat will be brutal.

Anyone who consciously went on the path of betrayal, who prepared the armed mutiny, went on the path of blackmail and terrorist actions, will be punished inevitably. They will answer before the law and our people.

The armed forces and other departments have received the necessary orders. Additional anti-terrorist security measures are now being implemented in Moscow, Moscow region, and a number of other regions. Decisive actions will be taken to stabilise the situation in Rostov-on-Don, which still remains difficult. The operation of civilian and military control departments is practically blocked.

As a president of Russia and the commander-in-chief, as a citizen of Russia, I will do everything to defend the country, protect the Constitution, lives and safety, liberty of the citizens.

Those who organised and prepared the military mutiny, who turned weapons against their comrades-in-arms, have betrayed Russia, and will be held accountable for that.

And those who are being pulled into the crime, I’m calling on you to not make this crucial, tragic, unrepeatable mistake.

Make the only right choice – stop participating in criminal actions.

I believe that we will defend and preserve what’s sacred for us. And together with the motherland, we will overcome all challenges, and become even stronger.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies