Biden says US ‘had nothing to do’ with Wagner’s mutiny in Russia

President Joe Biden said on Monday that the United States and its allies had firmly communicated to the Kremlin that they were not involved in the short-lived mutiny in Russia over the weekend by the Wagner mercenary group.

On Saturday, the far-right head of the private military company Yevgeny Prigozhin led an armed rebellion focused on Russian military top brass – in particular Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu – accusing them of botching the war against Ukraine and attacking its fighters. The Kremlin denied attacking Wagner fighters.

Wagnerian mercenaries who were fighting in Ukraine on behalf of Russia went to seize a military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, a city in southern Russia. Prigozhin, once a protege of Russian President Vladimir Putin, then led his uprising largely unopposed hundreds of miles towards Moscow, before halting the march less than 24 hours later.

Biden told reporters Monday he was in communication with U.S. allies and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to coordinate a response to the Wagner Rebellion. He said he asked his national security team to prepare for a “range of scenarios”.

“They agreed with me that we had to make sure that we didn’t give Putin any excuses – let me stress that we didn’t give Putin any excuses – to blame the West, to blame NATO,” he said. President. “We made it clear that we were not involved. We had nothing to do with it. It was part of a struggle within the Russian system.

The Kremlin said Wagner’s soldiers broke off the march after Moscow brokered a truce for Prigozhin to go into exile in Belarus and, along with his fighters, receive amnesty. There has been no confirmation of Prigozhin’s whereabouts, although the leader released an audio statement defending the uprising on Monday.

In the audio, Prigozhin pointed out weaknesses in the Russian military that allowed its fighters to march 500 miles towards the Kremlin without encountering resistance. The Wagner leader said his march was a “masterclass” in how Moscow should have invaded Ukraine last year.

Although the Kremlin said it had dismissed charges against Prigozhin as part of the truce, Russian media reported that the criminal case against the leader was still open. And while the mutiny was quick, the incident could have longer-term consequences for the war in Ukraine and the future of Putin’s rule.

“It is still too early to draw a definitive conclusion on the direction this is taking. The end result of all of this remains to be seen,” Biden said, adding that the United States and its allies will continue to support Ukraine “no matter what has happened in Russia.”

Leave a Comment