‘It’s frightening’: Ordinary Muscovites react to news of Prigozhin’s military coup attempt as flights out of the Russian capital sell out
- Moscow residents have revealed their fear as Wagner rebels approach the city
Ordinary Muscovites in the capital have reacted to the news of Prigozhin’s military coup attempt – as armoured cars are seen on the streets of the Russian capital.
Flights out of the city have reportedly sold out as the Wagner group approach, with German news site Der Spiegel claiming tickets for direct connections from Moscow to Tbilisi, Astana and Istanbul are no longer available.
Google maps is apparently showing road closures on the M4, south of Moscow – the route the Wagner rebels are taking.
One resident, named Nikolai, said: ‘It’s frightening, of course.
‘You sit at home thinking about what might happen. It’s disturbing both for you and your loved ones.’
Ordinary Muscovites in the capital have reacted to the news of Prigozhin’s military coup attempt – as armoured cars are seen on the streets of the Russian capital. Pictured: People stand in front of metal barriers as they visit Moscow’s Red Square today
A man waves a Russian national flag near Moscow’s Red Square earlier today
One woman wrote on Twitter: ‘I am in Moscow right now. The fight between rebels and Russian army has started. There was a huge explosion near our house. I am scared about my family. Please help us.’
Moscow resident Sergei said: ‘I think everything will turn out fine, but if they’re preparing to bring in [anti-terror measures] then it means there’s a reason for that.’
One woman in Moscow, Galina, said: ‘No, it doesn’t frighten me at all.
‘I have confidence in our president and our people.’
Military trucks and armored vehicles were seen in central Moscow earlier today, and soldiers with assault rifles were deployed outside the main Defense Ministry building. The area around the presidential administration near Red Square was blocked, snarling traffic.
But even with the heightened military presence, downtown bars and restaurants were filled. At one club near FSB headquarters, people were dancing in the street near the entrance.
The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, released a statement on Telegram announcing that ‘a counter-terrorist operation regime has been declared in Moscow’, and Monday will be a ‘non-working day’ to ‘minimise risks’.
He asked Muscovites to ‘refrain from travelling around the city as much as possible’.
Armored vehicles are seen as security measures are taken in Moscow
‘City services are on high alert,’ he said.
Wagner mercenaries appear to be moving north from central regions of Russia, in the direction of the capital.
Putin addressed the Russian people today, warning that the military leader Prigozhin ‘stabbed him in the back’, as Moscow is on lockdown and troops dig in in preparation to defend the city.
Prigozhin and his feared 25,000-strong Wagner militia have control of the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, saying they are ‘ready to die’ as they vow revenge for a military strike from Putin’s forces that the mercenary leader says killed some of his men.
Meanwhile rumours have circulated that a presidential plane linked to Vladimir Putin flew north from Moscow towards Tver and switched off its transponder, according to multiple reports.
Other business jets were seen making an exodus from the capital towards St Petersburg.
Earlier there were reports from Ukrainian intelligence indicating Putin had left from Moscow by helicopter for his palace at Valdai, between Moscow and St Petersburg.
It comes as a sinister message posted on the Wagner Telegram channel on Saturday said: ‘Putin made the wrong choice. All the worse for him.
‘Soon we will have a new president.’
Sources close to Putin insisted he was working in the Kremlin – an unusual location for him except for short visits.