According to Russian journalists, on the day of the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) mutiny, Russian President Vladimir Putin was watching the Alye Parusa festival in St. Petersburg aboard businessman Yuriy Kovalchuk’s yacht.
Source: Novaya Gazeta Europe with reference to information from journalists Mikhail Zygar and Yulia Taratuta
Details: Mikhail Zygar, political journalist and former editor of the Dozhd TV channel, wrote in a New York Times column that Putin never misses a graduation party in his hometown, and this year has not is an exception, despite the situation with Yevgeny Prigozhin.
According to Zygar, on June 24, Putin watched the Alye Parusa festival aboard a yacht owned by his friend, businessman Yuriy Kovalchuk.
The journalist’s sources call this the clearest proof that the President of the Russian Federation is detached from reality.
“He still believes that he has everything under control and that the Prigozhin rebellion had no effect on the political situation. But he is wrong. […] A lot of people I’ve talked to think Putin’s system of government just can’t last long,” Zygar said.
In a column for Dozhd, Taratuta reported, citing sources close to the situation, that a new yacht was presented to Putin during the holidays – instead of the Shaherezada, confiscated in Italy due to the sanctions. According to sources, Kovalchuk personally prepared the gift.
“The yacht took three years to build, or even five – here the versions differ. Only one thing is certain: she was gifted. Neither the war with Ukraine, nor the Prigozhin mutiny, nor the shelling of Rostov and Voronezh only entered the path,” Taratuta said.
Background: On June 24, the day of the mutiny of the Wagner Group fighters, the Russian media Vazhnye Istorii (Important Stories) citing FlightRadar data reported that Putin’s Il96-300PU (checkpoint) special plane left Moscow for St. Petersburg at 2:16 p.m. (Moscow time), but it disappeared from the tracking system over the Tver region.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian intelligence said Russian dictator Vladimir Putin had left Moscow for his residence in Valdai. Meanwhile, Putin’s press secretary denied this and claimed the Russian president was “working in the Kremlin”.
On the evening of June 23, Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed that the Russian regular army had launched a missile strike on the rear camps of Wagner’s mercenaries. He therefore deployed 25,000 of his mercenaries “to restore justice”.
Prigozhin claimed that his forces had taken control of military installations in Rostov-on-Don, including the air base, and were heading “towards Moscow” and that his soldiers had shot down at least three Russian helicopters. Wagner’s mercenaries also seized military installations in the Russian city of Voronezh.
In an emergency address on June 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia is “fighting for its survival” and attempts are being made to “stage a rebellion” in the country.
On the afternoon of June 24, Russian media reported that the office of the President of the Russian Federation predicted that Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group fighters would likely reach the outskirts of Moscow in the next few hours, with fighting expected near the Russian capital. Ukrainian intelligence has information that Putin urgently left Moscow for his residence in Valdai. A Wagner Group convoy was spotted 400 km from Moscow.
On Saturday evening, after a conversation with self-proclaimed Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Prigozhin announced that his mercenaries were turning around and returning to set up camps on the ground. Later it was reported that the criminal case against Prigozhin should be closed and he “would go to Belarus”.
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