Secretary of State Antony Blinken Says ‘We Haven’t Seen the Last Act’ of Wagner’s Russian Rebellion

The Biden administration has warned that more unrest is possible in Russia after a short-lived coup by a mercenary group once loyal to Putin.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the prediction Sunday in a senior administration official’s first comments on Russia’s future after a 48-hour whirlwind that left the Wagner Group leader in exile after his troops marched on Moscow.

“It’s an unfolding story, and I think we’re in the middle of a moving picture,” Mr. Blinken said on the CBS show. Confront the Nation. “We haven’t seen the last act. We’re watching it very closely.”

He went on to say that the rebellion showed “real cracks” in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power structure and raised “deep questions” about his ability to retain that power.

His comments came after the Kremlin announced that Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin would agree to a deal requiring him to leave Russia for Belarus in exchange for immunity from members of Wagner who is on the frontline of the Russian invasion of Ukraine for months.

Mr Prigozhin has increasingly spoken out about Russian command failures and accused the country’s generals of mismanaging the war.

A senior administration official also said The Washington Post that US intelligence agencies have been aware of the impending attack by the mercenary group since the beginning of June.

Mr. Blinken’s remarks are in line with many commentators in the United States and Europe who have predicted that Mr. Putin’s control over Russia and its military will continue to diminish as more victories are won by Ukraine. against its invading enemies.

“This is the biggest crisis of his time in power since [Putin] became president in 2000,” former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul told MSNBC on Sunday.

Mr Prigozhin’s exile is at the very least a black eye for Mr Putin given that a day ago the Russian leader denounced Wagner’s forward forces as traitors and swore reprisals.

According to reports, none of those involved in the uprising will see the consequences of their actions.

Mr. Blinken also said on Sunday that he expected the public to hear more in the coming days about what concessions Mr. Prigozhin was able to secure in his deal with Mr. Putin.

“We still don’t have a finality as to what was actually agreed between Prigozhin and Putin,” he told CBS News.

“I suspect we’ll find out more in the days and weeks to come about the deal they’ve reached.”

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