President Joe Biden said Monday that neither Western allies nor NATO were involved in the short-lived insurgency in Russia by the Wagner Group, warning Russian President Vladimir Putin not to blame them.
Biden, in his first public remarks on the coup attempt, said when he spoke with allies over the weekend on a zoom call, they all agreed that “we need to make sure that we gave no excuse to Putin – we gave no excuse to Putin – to blame the West or blame NATO.
“We made it clear that we weren’t involved. We had nothing to do with it. It was part of a struggle within the Russian system,’ Biden said during a speech in the East Room of the White House.
He noted that the situation in Russia remains “to be seen”, but noted that he had asked his national security team to come up with a “range of scenarios” to meet the need.
Biden, who spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over the weekend, said he expects to speak to him again in a day or two.
“The end result of all of this remains to be seen, but no matter what comes next, I will continue to ensure that our allies and partners are closely aligned on how we read and respond to the situation. It’s important that we stay completely coordinated,” Biden said.
President Joe Biden said neither Western allies nor NATO were involved in the short-lived insurgency in Russia by the Wagner Group
Russia remains in turmoil after Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin led a failed armed uprising on Saturday night.
Putin has not been seen in public, fueling uncertainty about his government.
In his first remarks on his coup attempt against Putin, Prigozhin, who has been banished to Belarus, said his march on Moscow was a “masterclass” in what the assault on the city should have looked like. Russia against Kyiv.
Speaking in an 11-minute audio clip posted to Wagner-affiliated Telegram channels, Prigozhin said he only called off his group’s push for the Russian capital to avoid spilling Russian blood, and said that the uprising was intended to register a protest against the ineffective conduct of the war in Ukraine, not to overthrow the government in Moscow.
He described his mercenary Wagner fighters as “perhaps the most experienced and combat-capable unit in Russia, perhaps in the world”, and said his private military company had done “an enormous amount of work in the interests of Russia”.
And he claimed he started the uprising to ‘prevent the destruction of the Wagner Group’, adding that they were ordered to hand over their weapons to the Russian military and also suffered casualties in airstrikes at the hands of the Russian army. Russian Air Force.
The Wagner leader also confirmed that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was instrumental in brokering a deal between the Kremlin and Prigozhin that would allow the latter to escape punishment for organizing the uprising.
Lukashenko reportedly offered Prigozhin refuge in Minsk in turn for his safety and amnesty for any Wagner troops who took part in the capture of the southern city of Rosotv-on-Don and the march to Moscow.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner Group military company, looks on from a military vehicle on a street in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2023
Members of the Wagner Group prepare to leave the Southern Military District headquarters and return to their base in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, June 24, 2023
Prigozhin was last seen in public on Saturday evening, smiling and shaking hands with supporters after ending his short uprising and driving back his soldiers marching on Moscow.
Since then, his whereabouts are unknown.
The Kremlin said on Saturday that the deal to end hostilities would involve Russia dropping the case against Prigozhin.
Several Russian media reported, however, that a criminal investigation against Prigozhin remains open, with some lawmakers calling for tough penalties after Putin said on Saturday he would “punish traitors who betray Russia”.
Although Wagner’s armed uprising on Russian soil came as a surprise to most, Prigozhin’s hatred of Russian military command has long been established.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been seen since Saturday
Prior to the uprising, he for months condemned Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Russian army chief General Valery Gerasimov with swear words, attacking them for not providing enough ammunition to his troops during the fight for the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the war. longest and bloodiest battle.
The Kremlin, meanwhile, says Putin is busy and working. Russian officials said he had spoken with the Mir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, to bolster their support.