July 17, 2024

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In Russia, Putin presents himself as the guarantor of peace, Prigozhin justifies his failed rebellion.

In Russia, Putin presents himself as the guarantor of peace, Prigozhin justifies his failed rebellion.

In his first public statement since the Wagner Group’s brief rebellion, its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin justified the preservation of the paramilitary group and the seizure of power, Vladimir Putin on Monday evening presented it as a guarantee of civil peace in Russia.

“From the beginning of the events, measures were taken on my direct instructions to avoid a great bloodshed”, the Russian president confirmed in a televised address to the nation, accusing Ukraine and the West of “wanting such fratricide”. “. A little earlier, his American representative, Joe Biden, on the contrary assured that the Westerners were “not involved” and had “nothing to do with these events”, which was described as “Russia’s internal problem”.

Thanking Russians for their “resistance”, “unity” and “patriotism”, Mr Putin declared that “this civic unity shows no threat”. […] will face failure”.

Posing as a guarantee of a return to peace, the Russian leader said through a presidential spokesman that he was in a “working meeting” with the country’s key security officials, particularly the attorney general. , Ministers of Interior and Defense and Director of the FSB (Russian Security Services). He “thanks them for the work done in these few days”.

To Wagner’s members who had taken part in the rebellion, some of whom had been taken more than 200 km from Moscow, he offered to join the regular army, “return to their families and their loved ones” or “go to Belarus”. ”, according to the Kremlin, their boss Evgueni Prigojine is an ally who should be deported. The president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, will deliver a speech “very soon,” though without specifying a date, a telegram channel near the presidency announced.

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On Monday evening, Mr. Putin again accused Wagner’s boss, without naming him, of “betraying his country and people” while “lying” to his men. During the day, Yevgeny Prigozhin justified his rebellion by saying he wanted to save his system, not seize power, and that his attempt had brought to light “serious security problems” in Russia.

transparent nature

Despite the severe blow to Vladimir Putin’s image in the space of 24 hours, Russian officials spent the day Monday trying to project normalcy in the country amid the entire Ukrainian counter-offensive.

In the 11-minute audio message, Mr Prigozhin did not reveal his whereabouts. According to him, the march of his men towards Moscow “brought serious security problems to the country”, as his troops were able to capture the army headquarters in Rostov-on-Don without much resistance. Stopped “200 km from Moscow”. He also assured the support of the public he met during this short rebellion.

For months, Wagner’s boss had accused Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Staff Valery Kurasimov of being incompetent and sending tens of thousands of soldiers to die. According to him, Minister Shoigu tried to remove Wagner by infiltrating and then bombing one of his camps, which would have caused 30 deaths – a charge denied by the Russian military.

Sergei Shoigu, who disappeared during the uprising, reappeared on Monday in a video showing him inspecting forces involved in Ukraine. However, it is not possible to determine when these images were shot.

The Wagner Group also assured that its headquarters in St. Petersburg was operating “normally,” while the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, noted that paramilitary forces would continue their operations in Mali and the Central African Republic. According to TASS agency, the organization has resumed its recruitment in some regions of the country.

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In another sign of this effort to return to normality, authorities announced the end of a “regime of anti-terrorist operations” in the Moscow region and in Voronezh, south of the capital.

“Big blow” to Putin

Mr. Prigozhin, a Putin ally responsible for many of Moscow’s worst tactics, ended his rebellion on Saturday evening in exchange for immunity promised to him and his men by the Kremlin. But on Monday, all Russian news agencies reported that a criminal investigation against him for “calling for armed rebellion” was still ongoing.

If the coup ended as suddenly as it had begun, the crisis would have left Mr. It represents the biggest challenge Putin has faced since coming to power in late 1999. The position of the Russian government, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Sunday.

Many analysts believe it could weaken Russian forces in Ukraine and benefit Kyiv in its counteroffensive. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Khanna Maliar announced on Monday that the army had cleared 17 km of ground, or 130 km, against Moscow’s forces.2 From the beginning of June. He said that the area of ​​Rivnopil, located in the Donetsk region, was taken over.

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Ukraine’s near-eastern Donetsk region on Monday as his army launches a counteroffensive in the region and in the south.

According to the President, he “visited the Armed Forces Units of the Operational and Strategic Group of Cortecia”. “I want to thank you, I want to reward you all, you, your family, your parents, I want to shake hands with great gratitude,” he told the army. “Ukraine is proud of each of you.”

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Later, in his traditional daily message, Mr. Zelensky referred to the “active areas on the front”, the regions of Donetsk and Zaporizhia.

“Today, our players have improved in all fields and it is a happy day. I wish there will be many more days like this,” he said.

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