Wagner ends revolt but Putin’s grip questioned

On Sunday, Wagner mercenaries returned to their base after Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to let their leader avoid treason charges and accept exile in neighboring Belarus.

The accord put an end to an extraordinary crisis with a private army led by Putin’s erstwhile close associate Yevgeny Prigozhin attempting to storm Moscow, but analysts said Wagner’s uprising revealed Putin’s leadership to be more vulnerable than previously imagined.

On Sunday, security precautions remained in place in Moscow, however fewer police were visible, and passers-by stated they were unconcerned, despite the fact that Prigozhin’s exact whereabouts remained unknown.

“Of course, I was shaken at the beginning,” Ludmila Shmeleva, 70, told AFP while walking at Moscow’s Red Square. “I was not expecting this.”

“We are fighting, and there is also an internal enemy who is stabbing you in the back, as President Putin said,” she said. “But we are walking around, relaxing, we don’t feel any danger.”

Prigozhin was last seen in an SUV leaving Rostov-on-Don, where his fighters had taken over a military headquarters, to the delight of some locals. Through the automobile window, someone shook his hand.

Trucks carrying armoured vehicles and fighters pursued his car.

According to the Institute for the Study of War, based on geolocated film, Wagner forces came as near to Moscow as 330 kilometers, while Prigozhin himself said that “in 24 hours we got 200 kilometers from Moscow.”

The mutiny was the conclusion of his long-running battle with the senior brass of the Russian military over the conduct of the Russian war in Ukraine.

Putin called the insurrection treachery and vowed to punish anyone responsible on Saturday. He accused them of threatening Russia with civil war.

Later that day, though, he accepted a deal arranged by Belarus to avert Moscow’s worst security crisis in decades.

On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and US Vice President Joe Biden discussed the uprising ahead of a NATO conference in Lithuania next month.

“The world must put pressure on Russia until international order is restored,” Zelensky said on Twitter, adding that he had again invoked the possibility of “long-range weapons” for Ukraine as it pursues a counter-offensive against Russian occupiers.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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