U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken addressed the latest Russian crisis involving the Wagner Group defection against the Kremlin on multiple talk shows on Sunday. Blinken described the uprising as a “direct challenge to Putin’s authority” and stressed that it exposed “real cracks” in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership. This is the first time the United States has issued a public statement on developments in Russia.
“So it raises deep questions, it shows a real rift,” Blinken said on the CBS News talk show “Face the Nation,” according to AFP.
consult with allies
In the past 24 hours, the United States has conducted intensive consultations with its European allies on the Wagner Group rebellion. The consultations are aimed at discussing the impact and consequences of the crisis.
Secretary Blinken said it was “too early” to speculate on the impact of the crisis on Kremlin stability and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
He described the events as “extraordinary” as Putin’s allies betrayed him and threatened the Kremlin’s core of power.
Blinken emphasized the significance of the actions of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the key figure behind the Wagner Group.
According to U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, as recently as 16 months ago, Russian troops were deployed with the possible intention of seizing control of all of Ukraine. However, he noted that recent events involving the Wagner Group have led to a change in the situation.
Blinken also told ABC News’ “This Week,” Blinken stressed that now, over the weekend, the Russian military found itself defending its own capital, Moscow, against mercenaries “of Putin’s own making.”
“Prigorzhin himself first and foremost throughout the affair deeply questioned the premise of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, saying that Ukraine or NATO did not pose a threat to Russia, and that was part of Putin’s narrative.”
Blinken noted that Moscow was “distraught” by the Wagner crisis, which could give Ukraine an additional advantage in its counteroffensive against Russian forces.
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However, he said it was too early to speculate on the future course of the crisis and its impact.
The Wagner Group’s exit follows a deal brokered by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko. The fighters have returned to their respective bases and have been assured of safety.
Under the agreement, Wagner CEO Yevgeny Prigorzhin will relocate to Belarus. The international community, especially Western leaders, has expressed concern over the unrest in Russia, a country with the world’s largest nuclear arsenal.