In a late-night address to the nation, President Vladimir Putin called the Wagner mercenary group’s leaders traitors to Russia. This was his first public statement since the weekend mutiny, which posed the greatest threat to his near quarter-century in power.
Without naming Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, Putin said that the people behind the rebellion did something very wrong. They betrayed their country and the people, as well as those who were involved in the crime. Their actions were against the law and meant to split people apart and make the country weaker.
Putin talked hours after Prigozhin rejected that his walk on the capital was an upset endeavour and said he’d push his hired soldier organization along regardless of true endeavours to close it down. The business jet of the mercenary chief landed at the Machulishchi military airbase in Belarus on Tuesday, according to the monitoring group Belarusian Hajun. However, the presence of Prigozhin on board was not immediately apparent.
The first remarks made by Putin since he made a TV address early on Saturday in which he threatened “harsh” punishment that never came to pass. He didn’t say much to clear up the mystery of the weekend’s events or what happened to Prigozhin, who, according to the Kremlin, had agreed to leave for Belarus and avoid prosecution in exchange for pulling his forces out of the capital.
The rapid succession of events has left the United States, Europe, and China perplexed about the political repercussions of a rebellion that shattered Putin’s seemingly invincible image as the leader of Russia and turned into the greatest threat to his near quarter-century in power. As a Ukrainian counteroffensive continues to attempt to drive Putin’s forces out of occupied territories, the crisis brought to light bitter divisions within Russia regarding the faltering war in Ukraine, the largest conflict in Europe since World War II.
Putin criticized Wagner’s leaders and claimed that the fighters were patriots who had been used without their consent. He said they could enlist in the normal military, return home or migrate to Belarus.
However, what that meant for Prigozhin was a mystery. Earlier on Monday, state media reported that the criminal case against him that was opened at the beginning of the crisis has not yet been resolved.
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Prigozhin has said that the Defense Ministry wants to get rid of Wagner by telling his fighters to join the military by July 1. He said on Monday that Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus who negotiated the end of the revolt, had offered to let Wagner keep working in his country.
According to the Institute for the Study of War, Belarus may turn out to be a “trap.” Analysts wrote that Lukashenko, who is economically and politically dependent on Putin, has demonstrated that he can turn Wagner employees over at Moscow’s request.
Putin’s discourse showed the Kremlin is pushing forward with the arrangement to coordinate Wagner powers will in any case require them for the conflict in Ukraine, as well as other global activities, as per the Washington-based establishment.
The president showed that he was behind his close ally, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is the main target of Prigozhin’s criticisms of how the war with Ukraine is handled. In a 30-second clip that was shown on state television, Putin thanked Shoigu, the heads of the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service, the Russian National Guard, and the Investigative Committee for their work shortly after his speech.
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Prigozhin proceeded with his analysis of top security authorities on Monday. He said in an 11-minute audio message on the Telegram channel of his press service that “genuine issues with security on the entire region of the nation” were highlighted by his fighters’ helping advance toward the capital, blocking military units along the way without much resistance.
The commander of mercenaries stated that Wagner troops’ march on Moscow on Saturday to within 200 kilometres (124 miles) of the capital was a protest to hold those accountable for “enormous mistakes” in Russia’s war in Ukraine and to prevent officials from “destruction” of his private army.
He said that their goal was not to remove the current government and their leader who was elected fair and square, but he didn’t directly promise to be loyal to Putin.
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The mercenary chief pointedly mentioned the public support he claimed his troops received as they marched through Russia’s heartland in his audio message on Monday. Stanovaya wrote, “Though he retreated, Prigozhin is now a figure of a different scale.” Putin will have to act on this, weighing the risks of a potentially negative response from his supporters and followers.
Too early to determine the impact of the revolt: Biden
“We will continue to evaluate the aftermath of this end of the week’s events and the ramifications for Russia and Ukraine. In his first public remarks on the mutiny, he said on Monday at a White House event, “It is still too early to reach a definitive conclusion about where it is going.”