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Fighters of Wagner private mercenary group pull out of the headquarters of the Southern Military District in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia.

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Hard Numbers: Russian uprising edition – Wagner’s ranks, Ruble tanks, Rostov’s neighbors, Pugachev’s echo

50,000: Wagner Group is believed to have about 50,000 armed men in total. Some of them are hardened combat veterans, but many have been recruited from Russian prisons. Prigozhin has led about half that number in Ukraine and those are the men he took on the march to Moscow.

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Wagner fighters near the headquarters of the Southern Military District in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia.


Is the Russian rebellion over … or?

There really are no surprises like Russia surprises.

For about 24 hours, it looked like Russian President Vladimir Putin was facing the biggest political challenge of his life. His old friend Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the powerful Wagner mercenary militia, was leading a column of men toward Moscow in what Putin called an “armed rebellion.” The Kremlin charged him with “mutiny.” Moscow was placed on high-security alert. Putin jetted to St. Petersburg.

And then, just as suddenly as it started, it ended. After easily taking control of two key southern Russian cities – one of them being Rostov-on-don, a major command center for Putin’s war in Ukraine – Prigozhin called the whole thing off after receiving a phone call from Putin-pal Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus.

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A woman drinks water in El Crucero town, Nicaragua.

REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas

Hard Numbers: Water woes, COVID fatigue in Hong Kong, Ukrainians come and go, Beckham’s Instagram followers visit Kharkiv, Russian death toll

2.2 billion: Three decades since the UN declared March 22 World Water Day to raise awareness about conservation efforts and the need for access to clean water, 2.2 billion people — almost a third of the global population — lack access to safe drinking water.

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