Former president Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday that Russia would not allow a mutiny led by mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin to turn into a coup or a global crisis, state news agency TASS reported on Saturday.
Answering questions from journalists, Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, said the whole world would be on the brink of catastrophe if Russian nuclear weapons fell into the hands of "bandits".
The "bandits" attempting the coup
Prigozhin, a former convict and long-time ally of Putin, leads Wagner, a private army that includes thousands of former prisoners recruited from Russian jails.
His men took on the fiercest fighting of the 16-month Ukraine war, including the protracted battle for the eastern city of Bakhmut.
He railed for months against the regular army's top brass, accusing generals of incompetence and of withholding ammunition from his fighters. This month, he defied orders to sign a contract placing his troops under Defense Ministry command.
He launched the apparent mutiny on Friday after alleging that the military had killed many of his fighters in an air strike. The Defense Ministry denied it.