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Rostov Oblast Governor Vasily Golubev asked residents to stay calm and remain at home as reports emerged of soldiers and military vehicles on the streets of the southern Russian city of Rostov and the takeover of administrative buildings in Rostov by unidentified men.
"Dear countrymen!" The current situation requires the maximum concentration of all efforts to maintain order. Law enforcement agencies are doing everything necessary to ensure the safety of the oblast's residents. I ask everyone to stay calm and do not leave your homes unless necessary," Golubev wrote on Telegram.
Meanwhile, a local Rostov news outlet reported that "unknown men in camouflage had seized administrative buildings in Rostov," Russian independent media outlet Meduza reported on Telegram.
The unconfirmed report said that the "unknown men" had taken over the headquarters of the Southern Military District, a police department in the city center, the regional department of the Interior Ministry, the regional department of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, and the Rostov administration building.
Russian independent media outlet Rain published two videos on Telegram of men with machine guns lying on the street outside the Southern Military District headquarters in Rostov. Russian state-controlled news outlet TASS later reported that the men with machine guns were Wagner Group fighters.
The Kyiv Independent could not independently verify the claims.
The reports follow a voice message by Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin's posted on his Telegram channel saying that his troops had entered Rostov Oblast and had shot down a helicopter that had opened fire.
Earlier on June 23, Prigozhin claimed that the Russian military had launched a missile strike against his fighters in Ukraine, inflicting a high number of casualties. Following the alleged attack, he vowed to take revenge and said he was sending a "march for justice" against the Russian military leadership.
In the wake of Prigozhin's comments, Russian military leaders pleaded with Wagner troops to hold their positions and not turn against their own and Moscow stepped up security measures in the capital.