We have military objects in Rostov under our control, including the airport. Yevgeny Prigozhin he said in a video released Saturday morning. However, his claims cannot be independently verified.
Why is Rostov-on-Don important?
At 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Ukrainian border, Rostov-on-Don is the largest city in southern Russia. With a population of over a million, it is the capital of the Rostov Region which borders parts of eastern Ukraine. The city is located along the main road between the border with Ukraine’s Donbass region and Moscow, about 1,100 kilometers (680 mi) to the north.
The city is an important command and logistics center for the Russian army. It houses the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District, whose combined 58th Arms Army is taking part in operations against Kiev’s counteroffensive in southern Ukraine, according to the Institute for the Study of War. Rostov-on-Don is also the main base of the command center of the Russian Combined Forces Group in Ukraine as a whole. Any threats to military installations in the city are likely to have an impact on Russian war effort.
DW’s international correspondent Roman Goncharenko said the reports of the Wagner Group’s mutiny could be a turning point for Russia.
He said that “taking control of Rostov-on-Don, or at least the part of Rostov-on-Don where the headquarters of the Russian army is located, is an unprecedented step and shows how weak the Russian army is.”
From Rostov-on-Don to Voronezh: The Road to Moscow
On Saturday, Wagner’s forces were reported to be moving north through the Voronezh Oblast. British intelligence sources who monitored the movements were quoted as saying they were “almost certainly aimed at reaching Moscow”.
Videos circulating on social media allegedly showed fighting and shelling in Voronezh, but their authenticity could not be independently verified. The city is located on the M-4 motorway heading north from Rostov-on-Don towards Moscow. It is about 500 kilometers from the Russian capital.
Further north, in the Lipetsk region, 300 kilometers south of Moscow, the local governor reported via Telegram that Wagner mercenaries had entered the area.
Governor Igor Artamonov said: “The equipment of the Wagner mercenary group is moving across the territory of the Lipetsk region.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Moscow issued a statement asking residents to avoid non-essential travel and announced that Monday would not be a working day for most people.
“In order to minimize risks, I decided, within the framework of the operational headquarters, to declare Monday a day off,” Sergey Sobyanin said on Telegram.
The Russian authorities also announced that they had closed the main highway from Moscow to the south in an attempt to impede the advance of “Prigozhin’s rebels.”
edited by: Ben Knight
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