Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a video speech as Wagner fighters mutiny June 24, 2023.
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US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said there were still many unknowns about the turmoil in the United States. Russia on SaturdayBut internal conflicts have exposed a “crack” in the nation that “has never existed before,” he said.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin On Saturday, it faced a violent attempted mutiny by Putin’s longtime ally Evgeny Prigozhin, who led a private mercenary fighter called the Wagner Group. But less than 24 hours after Wagner’s mercenaries had overran the strategic southern city of Rostov and appeared to be marching an armed convoy to Moscow, Prigozhin suddenly said: announced that the armed rebellion was over.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian reporters that the criminal case against Prigozhin had been dropped in exchange for a return, according to state news agency TASS. Prigozhin himself “is going to Belarus,” said Peskov, who described the situation as a kind of official exile.
Prigozhin played a central role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, so his departure could ultimately turn the tide of the war. His uprising didn’t last long, but it was the most serious challenge to Putin’s regime in decades.
Wagner Group head Evgeny Prigozhin left the Southern Military District Command in Rostov-on-Don, Russia on June 24, 2023.
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“This is just another chapter in the very bad book Putin wrote for Russia,” Blinken said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Blinken said Prigozhin was responsible for “horrible atrocities” in Ukraine and in many ways Prigozhin was a direct creation of Putin. He said it was too early to say exactly what the rift between the two would mean for Russia, but said the United States remained “strongly focused” on Ukraine.
Blinken added that a direct challenge to Putin’s authority was “unusual” because Prigozhin had managed to question Russia’s motives for aggression in Ukraine in the first place.
He said the war was ultimately a “devastating strategic failure” for Putin.
“We have seen this aggression against Ukraine turn out to be a total strategic failure,” he said. “Russia is weakened economically and militarily, and its position in the world is plummeting.”
Brinken expects the United States to learn more specifics in the coming weeks and months about the Putin-Prigogin deal and what will happen to the Wagner Group.