Putin Thanks Russia for Unity Following Aborted Rebellion.
June 27, 2023: Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed gratitude to the nation on Monday for its unity after a brief armed rebellion over the weekend that was swiftly brought under control. In his first public appearance since the rebellion’s end, Putin also acknowledged most of the mercenaries involved for preventing the situation from escalating into violence. He assured the public that all necessary measures had been taken to safeguard the country and its people from the rebellion.
Putin attributed the uprising to “Russia’s enemies” and claimed they underestimated it. Meanwhile, the Kremlin aimed to demonstrate stability by releasing a video of Russia’s defense minister inspecting troops in Ukraine.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the mercenary group involved in the rebellion, stated that his intent was not to stage a coup but to protect his private military company, Wagner, from destruction. However, he provided no specific details about his location or plans during his 11-minute statement.
The conflict between Prigozhin’s Wagner Group and Russia’s military leadership had been brewing for some time, and it erupted into a mutiny when the mercenaries left Ukraine and attempted to seize a military headquarters in a southern Russian city. They advanced unopposed for hundreds of miles toward Moscow before reversing course within less than 24 hours on Saturday.
According to the Kremlin, a deal was struck for Prigozhin to relocate to Belarus and receive amnesty with his soldiers. While his whereabouts remained unconfirmed on Monday, a famous Russian news channel on Telegram reported that he was staying at a hotel in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.
Prigozhin, in a taunting manner, described his march as a “master class” in how the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine should have been executed. He criticized the military for failing to protect Russia and highlighted security breaches that allowed Wagner to advance 780 kilometers toward Moscow without resistance.
The details of the purported deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko still need to be clarified, as Prigozhin only mentioned that Lukashenko had proposed finding a jurisdiction for Wagner to continue its operations lawfully.
While an independent Russian news outlet reported the construction of a field camp for up to 8,000 Wagner troops in Belarus, these claims could not be independently verified. The Belarusian military monitoring group Belaruski Hajun stated that it had observed no construction activity in the mentioned district and had no indications of Wagner convoys in or en route to Belarus.
Although the mutiny was brief, it was not without casualties. Russian media reported that several military helicopters and a communications plane were shot down by Wagner forces, resulting in at least 15 deaths. Prigozhin expressed remorse for attacking the aircraft but argued that they had targeted his convoys.
In conclusion, despite the attempted rebellion, Putin expressed gratitude to the Russian people for their unity. The situation was swiftly contained, and efforts were made to maintain stability. The future of Prigozhin and his forces remains uncertain, as the details of the deal with Belarus and their future jurisdiction are yet to be clarified.