Putin says he let the insurgency continue to avoid bloodshed

Vladimir Putin

Putin says he let the insurgency continue to avoid bloodshed

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a defiant televised address Monday night, saying he had deliberately let Saturday's Wagner militia insurrection continue as long as it happened to avoid bloodshed and that it had strengthened national unity.

The statement, his first on the issue since he spoke on Saturday promising to crush the rebellion, appeared intended to draw a line under an event many Western leaders viewed as exposing Putin's weakness since the invasion of Ukraine 16 months ago.

The Wagner fighters, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, took the city of Rostov-on-Don with the military command center directing the Ukraine campaign, driving an armed convoy across Russia to within 200 kilometers (125 miles) of Moscow.

"Since the beginning of the events, I have taken steps on my direct instructions to avoid serious bloodshed," Putin said.

"Time is needed, among other things, to give those who made a mistake a chance to come to their senses, to realize that their actions are deeply rejected by society, that the adventure in which they participated had tragic and devastating consequences for Russia and our state."

Putin did not mention Prigozhin, who demanded that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov come to Rostov to talk to him. Prigozhin called for their separation.

Nor did Putin mention any planned personnel changes at the Defense Ministry, though, at around 11 p.m. Moscow time, he appeared on television addressing a meeting of the heads of his security departments, including Shoigu.

Prigozhin said his men were forced to shoot down helicopters that attacked them as they headed towards Moscow; Putin hinted at some bloodshed, but blamed Wagner:

"The organizers of the rebellion, having betrayed their country and their people, also betrayed those drawn to crime. They lied to them and drove them to death: under fire, to shoot themselves."

Putin thanked the Wagner fighters and leaders who withdrew from the rebellion to avoid what he described as "fratricidal bloodshed," and said that the vast majority of Wagner's members were patriots.

He said those who decided not to sign contracts with the military under an order from the Ministry of Defense could either move to Belarus or return to their families.

Putin said all levels of society had taken "a firm and unequivocal position in support of the constitutional order."

He said: "Everyone was united and gathered for the main thing, responsibility for the fate of the Fatherland."

Russia says it is carrying out a "special military operation" in Ukraine to remove what it describes as a potential threat to its security from the Western-leaning Kyiv government. Ukraine and the West described the February 2022 invasion as an unjustified land grab.

0/Post a Comment/Comments