Biden says US and allies ‘made it clear’ they were not involved in attempted Russian mutiny

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden insisted Monday that Western leaders were not involved in an attempted mutiny in Russia over the weekend, speaking publicly for the first time since Wagner’s mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin mobilized his private military forces against the Russian leadership.

Prigozhin led an armed insurgency that marched towards Moscow before ordering his troops to withdraw on Saturday, raising concerns about possible unrest in Russia.

Biden said he was in constant contact with American allies to coordinate their response to the standoff between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prigozhin, a former close ally who led Wagner on the battlefield during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Biden said the United States and its allies, including NATO, wanted to prevent the perception that the mutiny was stoked by Americans.

“They agree with me that we need to make sure we don’t give Putin any excuses…to blame the West, to blame NATO,” Biden said of U.S. allies in remarks. the White House on Monday. “We made it clear that we weren’t involved, that we had nothing to do with it. It was part of a struggle within the Russian system.”

Biden said he had asked his national security advisers to prepare for a range of scenarios, but it was still too early to draw a firm conclusion on the implications of the weekend’s event for the Russia and Ukraine.

“The end result of all of this remains to be seen,” Biden added.

He said he was briefed “hour by hour” over the weekend.

Over the weekend, a White House official noted that tensions between Wagner and the Russian Defense Ministry had been visible for some time, as Prigozhin publicly criticized, warned and even threatened the Russian military at many times.

Biden spoke “at length” Sunday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about events in Russia and reaffirmed US security, economic and humanitarian support for Kyiv, he said.

“I told him that no matter what happened in Russia – let me repeat, no matter what happened in Russia – we, the United States, would continue to support Ukraine’s defense, its sovereignty. and its territorial integrity,” Biden said, adding that they agreed “to stay in constant contact.”

Biden said there was one head of state he couldn’t reach over the weekend, but would speak with him soon and “make sure we’re on the same length of ‘wave”.

The president spoke on Saturday with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to discuss the situation in Russia, according to the White House.

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