Russia’s FSB security service has opened a criminal case for armed mutiny against Wagner’s Yevgeny Prigozhin after the mercenary chief accused the Russian military of targeting his forces and vowed to “destroy” his rivals.

In an extraordinary series of audio clips released late on Friday, Prigozhin claimed that a Russian rocket attack had killed scores of his fighters, vowing to take “revenge” and “stop the evil brought by the military leadership of the country”.

“Those who destroyed today our guys, who destroyed tens of thousands of lives of Russian soldiers, will be punished. I’m asking: no one resists,” Prigozhin said.