Live Updates | Fallout from Russian mercenary armed revolt

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In this handout photo taken from video released by Prigozhin Press Service, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner Group military company, records his video addresses in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2023. (Prigozhin Press Service via AP)

The latest on the aftermath of the armed rebellion declared by Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin:


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Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin on Monday released the first audio statement since an aborted armed rebellion he staged on Saturday, defending the move as a reaction to an attack on his force that killed some of his fighters.

In an 11-minute audio statement, Prigozhin denied trying to attack the Russian state and said he acted in response to an attack on his force that killed some 30 of his fighters.

“We started our march because of an injustice,” Prigozhin said in a recording that gave no details about where he is or what his future plans are.

A feud between the Wagner Group leader and Russia’s military brass that has festered throughout the war erupted into a mutiny that saw the mercenaries leave Ukraine to seize a military headquarters in a southern Russian city and roll seemingly unopposed for hundreds of miles toward Moscow, before turning around after less than 24 hours on Saturday.

The Kremlin said it had made a deal for Prigozhin to move to Belarus and receive amnesty, along with his soldiers. There was no confirmation of his whereabouts Monday, although a popular Russian news channel on Telegram reported he was seen at a hotel in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.



Russia tries to project a sense of order after mercenary revolt

Chaos in Russia is a morale booster for Ukraine as it pushes forward with counteroffensive

European Union urges caution but uncertainty swirls about Putin’s grip on power

Belarus deal to take in leader of Russian rebellion puts him in an even more repressive nation


Britain’s defense minister said Monday that Ukraine has recaptured about 300 square kilometers (115 square miles) of territory during its ongoing counteroffensive.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told lawmakers in the House of Commons that Ukraine is making “gradual but steady tactical progress” in the south and east of the country.

“Russia does not appear to have the uncommitted ground forces needed to counter the multiple threats it is now facing from Ukraine, which extend over 200 kilometers from Bakhmut to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River,” he said.

Wallace said Russia had mounted an attack of its own in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, making “some small gains,” but that “Ukrainian forces have prevented a breakthrough.” In an earlier update, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Ukraine had gained impetus in its assaults around Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, making progress on both the northern and southern flanks of the town.


Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says the mutiny attempted by Wagner Group mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin showed that "the situation in Russia is uncertain” and provides a reason for Poland and its NATO allies to intensively monitor what is happening in the country.

“Russia shows it’s an unpredictable state,” Morawiecki said on Monday after a meeting he and the prime ministers of Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary met in Slovakia's capital. The Central European countries nations are part of an informal group known as the Visegrad Four.

Slovakia's prime minister, said the aborted rebellion by Wagner's private army over the weekend indicated “the situation in Russia is not as stable as it appeared to be a couple weeks or months ago.”

"It seems there’s not just a single Russian army, but more of them, which might turn to be an advantage for Ukraine,” Odor said.

Prigozhin's mercenaries have fought alongside the Russian army in Ukraine, but the group's future is uncertain.


A spokesman for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reacted cautiously Monday when asked to assess what had happened in Russia over the weekend.

“First of all, this is an internal Russian matter and we are monitoring what is happening there,” Steffen Hebestreit told reporters in Berlin. “What actually occurred there, only time will tell.”

Hebestreit declined to say what impact the latest events would have on the diplomatic efforts to begin peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. But he said that Scholz’s top foreign policy adviser, Jens Ploetner, attended a closed-door meeting over the weekend in Copenhagen between Western countries and the so-called BRICS group of major emerging economies.

Russia, which would normally attend such a meeting, wasn’t present.

The meeting had been proposed by Ukraine, Hebestreit said, but he wouldn't comment on the content of the meeting, nor on whether Germany had been in contact with Russian officials over the weekend, including about the safety of Moscow’s nuclear arsenal.


Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has made his first public appearance since a mercenary uprising demanded his ouster.

Shoigu appeared in a video Monday inspecting troops in Ukraine, apparently in a bid to project a sense of order after a weekend that saw armed rebels seize a Russian city and march seemingly unopposed on the capital.

Shoigu is one of three powerful Russian military leaders whose diverging interests erupted into mutiny on Friday when thousands of Wagner Group mercenaries headed from Ukraine deep into Russia, before turning around Saturday after less than 24 hours.

He is the first of the leaders to appear publicly since then. The Defense Ministry released the video with Shoigu in it, but it was unclear when it was filmed.

Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin declared a “march of justice” to oust Shoigu and General Staff chief Gen. Valery Gerasimov late Friday. He withdrew after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko brokered a deal to allow Prigozhin to move to Belarus and receive an amnesty, along with his soldiers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin hasn’t made any public appearances since issuing a brief televised address on Saturday during the mutiny.


Speaking to reporters before chairing a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Luxembourg, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that the Wagner revolt showed that the war in Ukraine is “cracking Russia’s political system.”

“The monster that Putin created with Wagner, the monster is biting him now,” Borrel said Monday. “The monster is acting against his creator. The political system is showing fragilities, and the military power is cracking.”

Upon arriving to the meeting in Luxembourg, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg called Prigozhin a “megalomaniac mercenary leader,” and said the Wagner chief's mutiny showed that “the evil spirit is out of the bottle” in Putin's Russia.

"You almost have the feeling that the Russian president is like the sorcerer’s apprentice again. He can’t get rid of the ghosts he called, and they’re going to haunt him now,” Schallenberg said.

During comments in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Monday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the weekend mutiny “an internal Russian matter,” but said it was “yet another demonstration of the big strategic mistake that President Putin made with his illegal annexation of Crimea (in 2014) and the war against Ukraine.”


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