This Monday (26th) Vladimir Putin made a new statement on the unfolding of the Wagner group riot and presented his version of the events that brought the country to a halt last Saturday (24th). In a video message about five minutes long released on Monday (26), the Russian president thanked the “unity and patriotism” of Russian civil society and reiterated the accusations of “treason”, without naming the leader. of the paramilitary group, Yevgueny Prigozhin.
“Today, once again, I appeal to all citizens of Russia. Thank you for your resistance, unity and patriotism. This civic solidarity has shown that any blackmail, any attempt to create internal turmoil is doomed to failure […] There was a consolidation of society. All were united and united by the main responsibility for the fate of the Fatherland,” he said.
According to the Russian leader, “from the very beginning, decisions were taken to neutralize the threat, protect order, life and security.”
“The rebellion would have been suppressed anyway. The organizers understood all of this, including the fact that they resorted to criminal acts, dividing and weakening the country,” he said.
The head of state also turned the attacks on the Ukrainian government and the West, stating that internal instability is precisely what “Russia’s enemies wanted”.
“The organizers, having betrayed the country, the people, betrayed those who were drawn into crime […] It was precisely this result – fratricide – that Russia’s enemies wanted: the neo-Nazis in Kiev, their Western patrons and all kinds of national traitors. They wanted Russian soldiers to kill each other, so that military and civilians would die, so that in the end Russia would lose and our society would split, suffocate in bloody civil strife,” Putin continued.
Regarding the Wagner group mercenaries who participated in the mutiny led by Yevgueny Prigozhin, Putin stated that most of the Wagner fighters are “patriots” and urged them to enter into a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense.
“I thank the soldiers and commanders of the Wagner group who made the only correct decision – they did not go to fratricidal bloodshed, they stopped at the last line. Today you have the opportunity to continue serving Russia, entering into a contract with the Ministry of Defense or other police agencies, or to return to their family and friends. Anyone who wants to can go to Belarus. The promise I made will be fulfilled,” he said.
Putin concluded his speech by thanking Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko “for his efforts and contribution to the peaceful resolution of the situation”.
Lukashenko was responsible for mediating negotiations with Prigozhin on Saturday (24), after which the head of Wagner announced the withdrawal of his fighters and return to their bases.
Editing: Thales Schmidt