Vladimir Putin issues first statement since the failed Wagner rebellion, here's what he said

Last Saturday, a failed uprising by the mercenary group Wagner made headlines in Russia. President Putin has given a statement for the first time since.

Vladimir Putin issues first statement since the failed Wagner rebellion
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Vladimir Putin issues first statement since the failed Wagner rebellion

News of the failed coup attempt by the Wagner mercenary force led by Yevgeny Prigozhin sent the world into turmoil on Saturday. According to Prigozhin, the seizure of control of the city of Rostov-on-Don and the subsequent march towards Moscow was preceded by the Russian Defense Ministry's attack on the mercenaries' military camps.

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According to the Tagesschau and the t-online magazine, Prigozhin has now made the same accusations again in a statement issued for the first time since the events on Telegram over the weekend. The head of the group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, now denies an intended change of power.

Wagner's march towards Moscow shows security gaps

According to further information, the mercenary leader explained in his voice message that no change of power was intended. The goal, he says, was to 'demonstrate protest' and not to overthrow the Russian leadership. In addition to the lamented attack on military camps of the Wagner troops, the intention of the Ministry of Defense to disband the group is also said to have been a reason for the uprising.

Following his repeated criticism of the Russian army's military actions in the Ukraine war, Prigozhin also presents the march on Moscow as a shining example of how the attack on Ukraine should have been conducted in the first place: quickly, effectively, and without major losses in its own ranks. The rapid advance of the troops, he says, also exposed serious security vulnerabilities.

Read more:Vladimir Putin: Russian president's propaganda mocked by Wagner chief in new interview

Putin wants to maintain image of Russia's strength

Last Monday evening, Russian President Vladimir Putin himself commented on the attempted coup, as reported by Der Spiegel and Tagesschau. According to him, he did everything possible to end the uprising without bloodshed. Furthermore, he thanked the Russian population as well as the army for their support in the matter.

The hope of Western countries that Russia would break into civil war and 'tear each other apart' has been dashed with the breaking off of the uprising, Putin continued. With his statement, the Kremlin leader is clearly aiming to preserve Russia's image of internal strength.

Read more:Vladimir Putin critic Yevgeny Prigozhin labelled 'absolute dictator' after latest conflict

Wagner mercenaries faced with a choice

However, Putin presents the mercenaries of the Wagner troops with a choice: they could either join the regular Russian army and return to their families, or go to Belarus. Any attempt to blackmail Russia is doomed to failure, as he made very clear in his statement.

He also extends special thanks to Belarusian ruler Lukashenko, who has mediated in the conflict. How the situation will develop further remains to be seen - but some German foreign policy experts fear that Putin will now intensify his actions in the Ukraine war.

Read more:Vladimir Putin: Rare details about relationship with his 'chef'-turned-critic Yevgeny Prigozhin disclosed

This article has been translated from Gentside DE.

Sources used:

Tagesschau: Message from the head of Wagner: Prigozhin denies attempted coup

t-online: First message since uprising: Prigozhin: Did not want to overthrow Putin

Spiegel: TV address after uprising: Putin's announcement to mercenaries: join the army - or 'go to Belarus'

Tagesschau: After Wagner uprising: Putin puts mercenaries to the test

Vladimir Putin has issued yet another terrifying warning, here's what he said Vladimir Putin has issued yet another terrifying warning, here's what he said