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Business News/ News / World/  Russia highlights: Wagner mercenary chief Prigozhin starts exile in Belarus
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Russia highlights: Wagner mercenary chief Prigozhin starts exile in Belarus

Russia news LIVE updates: Wagner group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin declared rebellion and determination to oust Russian military leadership, accusing it of attacking his men. Stay tuned for Russia news LIVE updates

Fighters of Wagner private mercenary group are seen atop of a tank as the group launches a counteroffensive against Russian military establishments (REUTERS)Premium
Fighters of Wagner private mercenary group are seen atop of a tank as the group launches a counteroffensive against Russian military establishments (REUTERS)

Russia news LIVE updates: Over the past two days, Russia has lurched from military power to a politically insecure nation. Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the mercenary Wagner group, appeared to launch an armed rebellion before ordering his troops march back. Mint looks at a bizarre revolt.

Prigozhin said his troops were on a “march for justice" and at one point they were reported headed toward Moscow. This led to intense defensive preparations. However, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko interceded prompting Prigozhin to say his troops were turning back to avoid “Russian bloodshed". Prigozhin will also be headed to Belarus, according to the Kremlin.

Observers are unanimous that Putin is weakened. His image as a leader with an iron grip is under a cloud.

Catch Russia rebellion LIVE News Updates only at LiveMint.

28 Jun 2023, 07:59:56 AM IST

US asks what's next for Russia's Wagner in Middle East, Africa

The United States is examining how the Wagner Group's short-lived mutiny against Russia's military establishment might affect the mercenaries' operations in the Middle East and Africa, officials said.

Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin startled the world by leading an armed revolt on Saturday that brought his fighters from the Ukrainian border to within 200 kilometers (125 miles) of Moscow before he abruptly called off the uprising.

U.S. policymakers view the mercenary force through the prism of a rivalry with Russia for influence in Africa and the Middle East and accusing it of gross human rights violations. The U.S. military has clashed directly with Wagner forces in Syria.

Among the possibilities policy analysts are considering, said a U.S. official, is that leaders of African nations may be less willing to hire the group after witnessing Prigozhin turn against his patrons. One of the options Russian President Vladimir Putin offered Wagner members was to sign a contract with the Russian armed forces.

"If these Wagner forces are absorbed into the Russianmilitary overnight, it could be a problem. Many of thesecountries didn't sign up for a Russian military presence whenthey asked for Wagner forces," the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Some of those African leaders, said the official, worry deeply about internal rivals and Wagner's march on Moscow could fuel their fears.

28 Jun 2023, 07:15:23 AM IST

Failed Russian mutiny boosts prospects for more US arms to Ukraine

President Joe Biden says it’s too early to tell what the turmoil in Moscow will mean for Vladimir Putin. But the 24-hour mutiny by mercenaries is likely to bolster those in Washington seeking to boost support for Ukraine’s war effort.

The failed rebellion by Yevgeny Prigozhin’s soldiers-for-hire against Russian government forces may spur bolder commitments from other NATO countries when their leaders gather next month in Vilnius, Lithuania, according to a person familiar with the Biden administration’s thinking who asked not to be identified discussing private discussions.

Allies that have pushed for more aggressive backing will find their position strengthened on the basis that the turmoil highlights President Putin’s vulnerability.

“Those who are arguing for continued support for Ukraine are going to make the argument that this war could be shorter than we anticipated, but we need to press the advantage at this point," said Thomas Graham of the Council on Foreign Relations, a former National Security Council senior director for Russia. “That is the argument you’re going to hear now in the run-up to the NATO summit in particular."

The US has maintained a regular cadence of security assistance to Kyiv, purchasing new systems for eventual use in Ukraine and pulling weapons from Defense Department stocks. On Tuesday, the US committed its 41st installment of equipment from Pentagon inventories, as much as $500 million in weapons, including anti-armor systems and ammunition for HIMARS rockets.

27 Jun 2023, 09:54:12 PM IST

Belarus' president confirms Prigozhin exile in Belarus

Belarus's president has said tha, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the proprietor of a private army comprising incarcerated individuals and other mercenaries, has sought refuge in Belarus following his unsuccessful armed uprising against the Kremlin. This army has been engaged in some of the most intense conflicts during Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

27 Jun 2023, 08:14:08 PM IST

Wagner chief Prigozhin starts exile in Belarus

Wagner mercenaries chief Prigozhin, who led the mutiny against the Russian military establishments, has started his exile in Belarus.

27 Jun 2023, 06:43:14 PM IST

Russian Wagner fighters start pulling out of Rostov-on-Don

Fighters of the Wagner private mercenary group pull out of the headquarters of the Southern Military District to return to base, in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia

27 Jun 2023, 06:15:42 PM IST

Wagner militia was entirely supported by Russian state: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that the Wagner mercenary group had received complete funding from the Russian state. An estimated 86 billion roubles ($1 billion) were allocated to the group from May 2022 to May 2023.

In addition, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who led the group's brief mutiny last Saturday, made almost as much during the same period from his food and catering business, Putin said at a meeting with security forces.

27 Jun 2023, 06:14:27 PM IST

Vladimir Putin says Russia paid $1 bn to Wagner over last year

Vladimir Putin, in an address to the nation, said Russia paid $1 billion to the Wagner Group over the last year. Meanwhile, Russian authorities said Tuesday they have closed a criminal investigation into the aborted armed rebellion led by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and are pressing no charges against him or his troops.

27 Jun 2023, 04:19:24 PM IST

Vladimir Putin says Wagner rebels never had support of Army, people

Vladimir Putin has said that the Wagner Group rebels have never had any support from the Army and the people. Vladimir Putin also requested a minute of silence to honour Russian military pilots who were killed during the mutiny.

27 Jun 2023, 02:50:39 PM IST

Russia says preparing transfer of Wagner's heavy military hardware to army

Russia prepared Tuesday to take possession of heavy military hardware held by Wagner as Moscow moved to bring the mercenary group under its control after its aborted mutiny.

The uprising at the weekend sparked Russia's most serious security crisis in decades, raising questions over President Vladimir Putin's grip on power as his campaign in Ukraine drags on.

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was to leave for Belarus in a deal to defuse the confrontation, with Russia's FSB saying Tuesday that the criminal case against the group's troops was now closed.

"Preparations are underway for the transfer of heavy military equipment from the private military company Wagner to units of the Russian armed forces," the defence ministry said.

Putin on Monday accused Ukraine and its Western allies of wanting Russians to "kill each other" during the revolt, which stunned the country.

In his first address to the nation since the rebels pulled back, Putin said he had issued orders to avoid bloodshed and granted amnesty to the Wagner fighters.

Prigozhin had earlier defended his aborted mutiny as a bid to save his mercenary outfit and expose the failures of Russia's military leadership -- but not to challenge the Kremlin.

27 Jun 2023, 02:06:14 PM IST

Prigozhin Jet in Belarus; unclear who is on board

President Vladimir Putin said organizers of an attempted mutiny sought to divide Russia and his government took all measures necessary to neutralize the danger.

In his first address since the rebellion, he said troops from the Wagner mercenary group could join the Russian Army or leave for Belarus. He didn’t comment on the fate of the group’s founder Yevgeny Prigozhin.

A business jet belonging to Prigozhin reportedly landed in Belarus but it was not immediately clear who was on board. Russian news wires said a criminal investigation into Prigozhin’s mutiny remains open.

27 Jun 2023, 01:15:23 PM IST

Zelenskiy Says Forces Advancing Across Frontline

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukrainian troops had advanced “in all directions" across the frontline after visiting his government’s forces in the country’s east and south.

In his evening video address, Zelenskiy said he had also discussed arms supplies with allies including US President Joe Biden.

Biden reinforced his administration’s commitment to Ukraine’s defense “no matter what happened in Russia," and the US was set to announce a new $500 million package of military hardware for Ukraine drawn from Pentagon inventories.

27 Jun 2023, 11:24:33 AM IST

Wagner chief's criminal charges not dropped yet, punishable by 12 to 20 years

Criminal charges against Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner group, have not been dropped yet, Russian news agencies reported on Monday. The Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia is currently investigating the alleged events of an armed mutiny.

The FSB initiated charges against Prigozhin on Friday, accusing him of inciting an armed uprising and declaring his intent to overthrow the military leadership of Russia. Following his statement, Prigozhin's mercenary fighters reportedly seized control of a Defense Ministry headquarters in Rostov-on-Don and swiftly advanced towards Moscow.

Charges are punishable by 12 to 20 years in prison.

However, following a mediation by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Yevgeny Prigozhin agreed to cease his rebellion and go into exile in neighboring Belarus. (Read here)

27 Jun 2023, 10:59:45 AM IST

Wagner rebellion: It's a new thing to see Putin's leadership directly challenged, says US

Following the Wagner rebellion, the US said that it's a new thing to see Russian President Vladimir Putin's leadership getting directly challenged.

Responding to a media query on the US' standing on Ukraine, and Wagner, the US State Department official spokesperson Matthew Miller said, "It is certainly a new thing to see President Putin's leadership being directly challenged. It is a new thing to see Yevgeny Prigozhin... calling out that the war has been conducted essentially based on lies, which we have said previously but certainly not seen coming from Russian officials previously."

He said that everyone saw what happened over the weekend and it still remains a dynamic situation.

"I'll say in our assessment it remains a dynamic situation, it's unclear what the ultimate implications of what happened will be," Miller said on Monday.

The State Department spokesperson further underlined that Blinken had a call with the leaders of the G7, as well as those of Turkey and Poland to discuss the issue.

"Blinken had a call with the leaders of the G7 and he had a call with Foreign Minister Kuleba of Ukraine, the Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Poland," the US State Department spokesperson said.

"We continued to have discussions with our allies and partners today. we also made clear to Ukraine as we made clear in conv with our allies and partner that our steadfast support for Ukraine will remain so, no matter what happens in Russia," he said during the State Department briefing on Monday.

27 Jun 2023, 10:48:28 AM IST

Russian Wagner Group led massacres in Central Africa: The Sentry

Russia’s Wagner Group has played a central role in a campaign of killings, torture and rape in the Central African Republic and has driven civilians away from areas where its affiliated companies have been awarded mining rights, US nonprofit the Sentry said in a report.

Wagner, which had close ties to the Kremlin until last weekend’s short-lived rebellion led by the group’s founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, was hired by CAR President Faustin-Archange Touadéra in 2018 to help fend off rebels, according to the Sentry. It’s one of several African countries where Wagner has established a presence in recent years, offering its services often in return for mineral resources, as a way to indirectly bolster the Kremlin’s geopolitical reach, according to the Sentry and the US Treasury.

The Treasury has described Wagner’s operations in Africa as “an interplay between Russia’s paramilitary operations, support for preserving authoritarian regimes and exploitation of natural resources."

27 Jun 2023, 10:03:23 AM IST

Putin accuses West of wanting Russians 'to kill each other' in mutiny

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday accused Ukraine and its Western allies of wanting Russians to "kill each other" during a revolt by mercenaries of the Wagner group, which stunned the country with an aborted march on Moscow over the weekend.

In his first address to the nation since the rebels pulled back, Putin said he had issued orders to avoid bloodshed and granted amnesty to the Wagner fighters whose mutiny served up the greatest challenge yet to his two-decade rule.

"From the start of the events, on my orders steps were taken to avoid large-scale bloodshed," Putin said in a televised address, thanking Russians for their "patriotism".

"It was precisely this fratricide that Russia's enemies wanted: both the neo-Nazis in Kyiv and their Western patrons, and all sorts of national traitors. They wanted Russian soldiers to kill each other," Putin said.

Putin also thanked his security officials for their work during the armed rebellion in a meeting that included Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, a main target of the mutiny.

27 Jun 2023, 09:46:01 AM IST

Wagner chief said march on Moscow showed security problems in Russia

The leader of Russia's Wagner mercenary group recently spoke out about a failed rebellion march on Moscow. 

In a Telegram audio message, the leader expressed concerns about "very serious security problems" in Russia but denied any intentions of overthrowing President Vladimir Putin, as reported by Moscow Times. 

After the aborted rebellion, reports indicate that the leader has relocated to Belarus under a deal brokered by Minsk. The rebellion was reportedly motivated by a desire to protect the embattled mercenary outfit and hold Russia's military leadership accountable for alleged "huge mistakes" during the Ukraine campaign.

"We went to demonstrate our protest and not to overthrow power in the country," Prigozhin said.

But he said the mutiny — which saw armed fighters speed through southern Russia en route to Moscow — exposed major security issues.

Wagner's convoy stopped 200 kilometers (125 miles) short of Moscow and had "blocked all military infrastructure" including air bases along its path, Prigozhin said.

He claimed the group had support from locals along the way.

"In Russian towns, civilians met us with Russian flags and the symbols of Wagner," Prigozhin said.

"They were all happy when we passed through."

Prigozhin said Belarusian leader Alexander Luka

27 Jun 2023, 09:23:39 AM IST

Putin holds a meeting with heads of Russian security services in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a meeting with heads of Russian security services in Moscow, Russia

27 Jun 2023, 08:56:10 AM IST

Senior Russian lawmaker calls for professional army of seven million

A senior Russian lawmaker who has been involved in a number of negotiations related to Moscow's campaign in Ukraine called late on Monday for a professional army seven-million strong to ensure that no mercenary groups are needed for the country's security.

Russia has been shaken by the weekend's failed mutiny by Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner mercenary troops who briefly took control of a military command steering Moscow's campaign in Ukraine, then started a march on Moscow before aborting it.

Lawmaker Leonid Slutsky, who early in the 16-month war took part in peace negotiations with Ukraine, said that Russia needs a contract army of at least seven million military and civilian personnel, on top of the current conscript army.

"The country does not need any PMCs (private military companies) and their likes," Slutsky, the head of the Liberal Democratic Party, said on the Telegram messaging app. "There are problems in the regular army, but PMCs cannot solve them."

27 Jun 2023, 07:54:21 AM IST

Russian Wagner fighters start pulling out of Rostov-on-Don

Fighters of Wagner private mercenary group pull out of the headquarters of the Southern Military District to return to base, in the city of Rostov-on-Don

27 Jun 2023, 07:12:59 AM IST

Wagner chief says, ‘demonstrated protest, never intended to overthrow the government’

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group, denied allegations of attempting to overthrow the Russian leadership in his first public statement since the reported mutiny. He claimed, in his 11-minute audio released on the Telegram app, their intention was to protest against the perceived ineffective conduct of the war in Ukraine.

"We went as a demonstration of protest, not to overthrow the government of the country," Prigozhin said while not offering details as to where he was or what his future plans are. Whereabouts of the mercenary group's boss is still unclear since he stopped short of marching to the Russian capital Moscow on Saturday.

While his men were just 200 kilometres from marching to a heavily-fortified Moscow, Prigozhin said he had decided to turn back to avoid ‘bloodshed’. The Kremlin negotiated a settlement with Prigozhin. The proposed agreement included security guarantees for Wagner troops. (Read here)

27 Jun 2023, 06:33:57 AM IST

Russia: Putin gives televised address, says ‘steps were taken to avoid blood shed’

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on Monday that he let Saturday's aborted mutiny go on as long as it did to avoid bloodshed. Meanwhile, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group, who led the uprising, claimed that his intention was never to overthrow the government.

Putin's televised address was his first public comment since Saturday, during which he had warned that the rebellion posed a significant threat to Russia's existence and vowed to hold those responsible accountable.

"From the very beginning of the events, steps were taken on my direct instruction to avoid serious bloodshed," Putin said on Monday.

"Time was needed, among other things, to give those who had made a mistake a chance to come to their senses, to realise that their actions were firmly rejected by society, and that the adventure in which they had been involved had tragic and destructive consequences for Russia and for our state." (Read here)

26 Jun 2023, 10:53:12 PM IST

Oil prices inch higher after political turmoil in Russia

Oil prices rose nearly 1% in choppy trading on Monday, as investors balanced concerns about global demand growth against upcoming supply disruptions that could get exacerbated by political instability in Russia.

Brent crude futures were up 54 cents, or 0.7%, at $74.39 a barrel at 12:33 p.m. EDT (1633 GMT), while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose 48 cents, or 0.7%, to $69.64 a barrel.

A clash between Moscow and Russian mercenary group Wagner was averted on Saturday after the heavily armed mercenaries withdrew from the southern Russian city of Rostov under a deal that halted their rapid advance on the capital.

However, the challenge has raised questions about President Vladimir Putin's grip on power and some concern about possible disruption of Russian oil supply.

"There's not much geopolitical impact on the market now. It is dominated by economics, not geopolitics," Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of S&P Global, said on the sidelines of an industry event on Monday.

Price Futures Group analyst Phil Flynn warned that Russian political instability could worsen supply shortages in the months ahead due to Saudi Arabia's pledge to cut output from July, a risk of lower U.S. production and an imminent end to U.S. strategic reserve releases.

"The reality is (the Russian turmoil) is another risk against complacency in a market that has been counting on a future drop in demand to meet what will be a big drop in supply," Flynn said.

In an early indicator of future U.S. supply, the number of oil and natural gas rigs operated by U.S. energy companies fell for an eighth week in a row for the first time since July 2020, a closely followed report showed on Friday.

"(Beyond Russia) focus otherwise is on Saudi as the kingdom implements its additional production cut for July - something we should see in lower exports - as well as the looming Independence Day weekend and its impact on demand," Kpler Analyst Matt Smith said.

Both Brent and WTI prices fell by about 3.6% last week on worries that further interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve could sap oil demand at a time when China's economic recovery has also disappointed investors. (Reuters)

26 Jun 2023, 10:46:22 PM IST

Europe Gas declines as traders weighfallout of Russia mutiny

European natural gas fell, reversing an earlier gain, as traders assessed whether a short-lived rebellion in Russia would have any impact on supply.

Benchmark futures settled 1.6% lower after advancing as much as 14% earlier. Gas has soared about 20% this month with prolonged production outages in Norway countering sluggish demand. Price fluctuations have surged in June, and the dramatic uprising in Russia over the weekend only roiled the market further.

While Europe has significantly reduced its dependence on Russian pipeline gas, Moscow remains a major supplier of liquefied natural gas. The continent also gets a large amount of LNG from other countries like the US, and the fuel overall has been crucial in ensuring supply during the energy crisis.

Other factors are also adding to market pressures. Shipments from Norway remain capped with a number of facilities undergoing maintenance. Seasonal work continues at major projects, including the Nyhamna processing plant and the Troll field.

Following the short revolt, Wagner group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said he had no intention of ousting President Vladimir Putin’s government. A criminal investigation into Prigozhin’s mutiny remains open, Russian news wires reported. The market will be waiting to see if the turbulence continues and impacts supply of materials crucial for the global economy.

Click here for the latest update on the Russian mutiny

“Overall, just like the other Russia-focused commodities, the impact for now is limited," said Ole Sloth Hansen, head of commodities strategy at Saxo Bank A/S.

Dutch front-month gas, the European benchmark, closed at €31.98 a megawatt-hour. The UK equivalent contract fell 0.7%, while German power rose 0.4%. (Bloomberg)

26 Jun 2023, 10:17:01 PM IST

Attack on Ukraine demonstrates Putin made 'big strategic mistake': NATO chief

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday said the events that took place in Russia over the weekend demonstrate that President Vladimir Putin made a "big strategic mistake" by launching a special military operation in Ukraine, CNN reported.

"The events over the weekend are an internal Russian matter, and yet another demonstration of the big strategic mistake that President [Vladimir] Putin made with his illegal annexation of Crimea and the war against Ukraine," he said.

"As Russia continues its assault, it is even more important to continue our support to Ukraine," Stoltenberg said during a visit to Lithuania's capital Vilnius.

He further stated that Ukrainians have launched a counteroffensive to retake occupied land. The more land they are able to retake, the stronger their hand will be at the negotiating table to achieve a just and lasting peace, according to CNN.

On Saturday morning earlier, Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, in a Telegram post, announced that his men had crossed the border from Ukraine into southern Russia and were ready to go "all the way" against the Russian military, TASS News Agency reported.

He said he and his men would destroy anyone who stood in their way. "But we will destroy anyone who stands in our way," he said, adding, "We are moving forward and will go until the end."

However, later, as soon as the armed mutiny came to an end, Russia also announced that the charges against Wagner Chief Prigozhin would be dropped but today, Kremlin opened charges on the founder of the Mercenary group.

Meanwhile, Stoltenberg further stated that once the war ends, the world needs to put arrangements in place for Ukraine's security so that history does not repeat itself." (ANI)

26 Jun 2023, 10:13:14 PM IST

US, NATO had no involvement in the insurrection in Russia by a mercenary force, says Joe Biden

President Joe Biden on Monday said United States and NATO had no involvement in the short-lived insurrection in Russia by the Wagner Group mercenary force. He said it's "too early" to assess theimpact on the war in Ukraine.

Biden said he held a video call with allies over the weekend and they are all in sync in working to ensure that they give Russian President Vladimir Putin “no excuse to blame this on the West" or NATO.

“We made clear that we were not involved. We had nothing to do with it," Biden said. “This was part of a struggle within Russian system."

Biden also spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over the weekend about the situation and said he intended to speak with him again later Monday or early Tuesday. (AP)

26 Jun 2023, 10:05:22 PM IST

'Too early' to define fallout from Russia turmoil, says Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden said Monday it was "too early" to draw definitive conclusions after the Wagner mercenary group's aborted march on Moscow, while vowing the West "had nothing to do" with the revolt.

"I also convened our key allies on a Zoom call," Biden told reporters. "They agreed that we had to make sure we gave (Russian President Vladimir) Putin no excuse... to blame this on the West and to blame this on NATO." (AFP)

26 Jun 2023, 09:43:33 PM IST

March on Moscow showed security problems in Russia, says Yevgeny Prigozhin

The leader of Russia's Wagner mercenary group said Monday that his aborted rebellion march on Moscow over the weekend had exposed "very serious security problems" in Russia, while insisting he did not want to overthrow President Vladimir Putin.

Prigozhin broke his silence in a Telegram audio message two days after staging the dramatic armed rebellion that saw his fighters approaching Moscow in columns.

The private army chief did not reveal his location but is reported to move to Belarus, after a deal brokered by Minsk to end the mutiny.

Prigozhin said his revolt was aimed at saving his embattled mercenary outfit and bringing to justice Russia's military leadership who made "huge mistakes" during the Ukraine campaign.

"We went to demonstrate our protest and not to overthrow power in the country," Prigozhin said.

But he said the mutiny -- which saw armed fighters speed through southern Russia en route to Moscow -- exposed major security issues.

Wagner's convoy stopped 200 kilometres (125 miles) short of Moscow and had "blocked all military infrastructure" including air bases along its path, Prigozhin said.

He claimed the group had support from locals along the way.

"In Russian towns, civilians met us with Russian flags and the symbols of Wagner," Prigozhin said.

"They were all happy when we passed through."

Prigozhin said Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko offered ways in which Wagner could continue to operate and thereby ended the rebellion.

"Lukashenko held out his hand and offered to find solutions for the continuation of the work of the Wagner private military company in a legal jurisdiction," Prigozhin said.

The Wagner chief said that he had sent two columns into Russia: one to the city of Rostov-on-Don, which occupied the local army headquarters, and the second one to Moscow.

He halted the rebellion after the column approaching Moscow "did reconnaissance of the area and it was obvious that at that moment a lot of blood will be shed."

He claimed that nobody was killed "on the ground" during the march but admitted casualties in the air.

"We regret that we were forced to hit on aviation, but they dropped bombs and hit us with rocket fire," he said.

He said that several Wagner fighters were injured and claimed that two soldiers who had joined the rebellion "out of their own will" were killed.

Prigozhin said Wagner fighters were aware of the "end aim" of the march and were "not forced" to join. (AFP)

26 Jun 2023, 09:35:19 PM IST

Wagner crisis shows Ukraine war 'cracking' Russia, says EU

Wagner's aborted mutiny shows that Moscow's war in Ukraine is splintering the leadership in Russia, the EU's top diplomat said Monday, warning of the risk of instability in the nuclear-armed country.

"What has happened during this weekend shows that the war against Ukraine is cracking Russian power and affecting its political system," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said at a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers.

"We are certainly following closely what's happening, but it's now the moment to continue supporting Ukraine more than ever, that's what we will do," he said.

"Certainly it's not a good thing to see that a nuclear power like Russia can go into a phase of instability. It's also something that has to be taken into account," Borrell said.

"The most important conclusion is that the war against Ukraine launched by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, and the monster that Putin created with Wagner, the monster, is biting him."

"The monster is acting against its creator, the political system is showing the fragilities and the military power is cracking," Borrell said. (AFP)

26 Jun 2023, 09:21:37 PM IST

'We didn't want to overthrow government', says Russian mercenary leader

Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Monday that a one-day mutiny by his Wagner force had been intended not to overthrow Russia's government but to register a protest over what he said was its ineffectual conduct of the war in Ukraine.

In his first public comments since ending the mutiny late on Saturday, Prigozhin repeated his frequent claim that Wagner was the most effective fighting force in Russia "and even the world", and that it put to shame the units that Moscow had sent into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

He said the way it had been able to seize the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don without bloodshed and to send an armed convoy to within 200 km of Moscow had been testament to the effectiveness of his fighters.

"We showed a master class, as it should have been on Feb. 24, 2022. We did not have the goal of overthrowing the existing regime and the legally elected government," he said in an 11-minute audio message released on the Telegram messaging app.

Prigozhin renewed an allegation, so far unsupported by evidence, that the Russian military had attacked a Wagner camp with missiles and then helicopters, killing about 1,000 of its men, and said this had been the immediate trigger for what he called a "march of justice". (Reuters)

26 Jun 2023, 09:05:58 PM IST

Russian Wagner fighters pull out of Rostov-on-Don

26 Jun 2023, 08:29:22 PM IST

Russia papers over cracks in Kremlin power after Wagner revolt

Russia tried to present a return to business as usual Monday for both the Kremlin and the Wagner mercenary army that challenged President Vladimir Putin's authority in an aborted weekend mutiny.

Putin did not directly address the dramatic events, but made a video speech to a youth forum dubbed the "Engineers of the future" and praised companies for overcoming "severe external challenges".

Wagner headquarters in Saint Petersburg said it remained open for business, and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the private military firm would continue to operate in Mali and the Central African Republic.

Wagner's owner Yevgeny Prigozhin was branded a traitor on Saturday when he led the capture of a southern military headquarters overseeing Russia's Ukraine campaign and sent an armed column towards Moscow in a bid to overthrow the defence ministry top brass.

But, after triggering Russia's worst security crisis since Putin came to power in 1999, Prigozhin called off his fighters just over 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Moscow.

The Kremlin said he would be permitted to accept exile in Belarus and his troops would not face prosecution. (AFP)

26 Jun 2023, 08:28:48 PM IST

Russia tries to project a sense of order after mercenary revolt but uncertainty still swirls

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made his first public appearance since a mercenary uprising demanded his ouster, inspecting troops in Ukraine in a video released Monday aimed at projecting a sense of order after the country’s most serious political crisis in decades.

But uncertainty still swirled about his fate, as well as that of rebellion leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and his private army, the impact on the war in Ukraine, and even the political future of President Vladimir Putin.

A feud between Wagner Group leader Prigozhin and Russia's military brass that has festered throughout the war erupted into a mutiny that saw the mercenaries leave Ukraine to seize a military headquarters in a southern Russian city and roll seemingly unopposed for hundreds of miles toward Moscow, before turning around after less than 24 hours on Saturday.

The Kremlin said it had made a deal for Prigozhin to move to Belarus and receive amnesty, along with his soldiers. There was no confirmation of his whereabouts Monday, although a popular Russian news channel on Telegram reported he was seen at a hotel in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

Russian media reported a criminal probe against Prigozhin continued, and some lawmakers called for his head.

In a return to at least superficial normality, Moscow's mayor announced an end to the “counterterrorism regime" imposed on the capital Saturday, when troops and armored vehicles set up checkpoints on the outskirts and authorities tore up roads leading into the city.

The Defense Ministry video of Shoigu came as Russian media speculated that he and other military leaders have lost Putin’s confidence and could be replaced. (AP)

26 Jun 2023, 08:09:05 PM IST

Russian officials emphasise unity after aborted mutiny

Senior Russian officials rallied around President Vladimir Putin on Monday, while state media said authorities were still investigating the mercenary leader whose weekend mutiny appeared to be major threat to the Russian leader's 23-year-old rule.

On the first working day after fighters of the powerful Wagner Group seized a military headquarters and marched on Moscow, officials still gave no details about the deal that abruptly ended the mutiny.

Mikhail Mishustin, who leads Putin's cabinet as his appointed prime minister, acknowledged that Russia had faced "a challenge to its stability", and called for public loyalty.

"We need to act together, as one team, and maintain the unity of all forces, rallying around the president," he told a televised government meeting.

There was no word about the revolt from Putin himself, who had said on Saturday the rebellion put Russia's very existence under threat and vowed to punish those behind it. The Kremlin released a video from him congratulating participants of an industrial forum, containing no indication of when it had been filmed.

In another move apparently intended to convey normality, authorities released video showing Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. The mutineers had demanded he be sacked, leading to speculation that his removal might have been part of the arrangement that ended the revolt.

There was still no public sign of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the boss of Wagner and mutiny leader, last seen on Saturday smiling in the back of an SUV as he left Rostov-On-Don, the southern city his men captured before he ordered them to stand down.

Russia's national Anti-Terrorism Committee said the situation in the country was stable. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who had told residents to stay indoors on Saturday as the mutinous fighters raced to within a few hundred kilometres of the capital, said he was cancelling a counter-terrorism security regime. (Reuters)

26 Jun 2023, 07:54:02 PM IST

Ruble drops, markets steady after aborted uprising in Russia

The ruble reached a 14-month low againt the dollar on Monday but US and European stock markets steadied after a short-lived mutiny in Russia stoked concerns about the nuclear-armed country's stability.

While the advance by the Wagner mercenary force led by Yevgeny Prigozhin was called off before it reached Moscow, analysts said the rebellion showed President Vladimir Putin's grip on power was more fragile than previously thought.

But unease on trading floors appeared to lift as Wall Street opened up 0.2 percent while European markets edged higher after starting the day in the red.

Asian markets finished lower.

The ruble hit 85.37 to the dollar -- a level last seen in April 2022 shortly after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine -- but the Russian currency recovered slightly later.

Oil prices rose slightly as Russia is a major producer.

Moscow made an effort on Monday to portray a return to business as usual, and Putin praised industry for overcoming "severe external challenges" in a video speech to a youth engineering forum.

Markets were taking a "tread carefully" approach at the start of the week, said Tim Waterer, chief market analyst at KCM Trade.

Prior to the revolt in Russia, traders worried about slowing growth in major economies and the prospect of further interest rate hikes by Western central banks battling high inflation.

"Investors are now also having to factor in the chance of escalation on the geopolitical side of things, which is adding another layer of uncertainty to the equation," Waterer said. (AFP).

26 Jun 2023, 07:28:15 PM IST

What will happen to the Wagner group?

The fate of Wagner was uncertain after the rebellion and as Russia appeared to take a business-as-usual approach. Wagner's chief Prigozhin has not been seen since Saturday, but the Kremlin said he will be sent to neighbouring Belarus after a Minsk-brokered deal to halt his rebellion.

26 Jun 2023, 05:32:58 PM IST

EU urges caution as mercenary revolt raises doubts 

European Union ministers urged caution on Monday over a failed revolt by mercenary soldiers in Russia. This came after the incident raised troubling questions about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power and whether Wagner group fighters might install themselves just over the border in Belarus.

26 Jun 2023, 04:58:03 PM IST

Chaos in Russia serves as morale booster for Ukraine

The armed rebellion against the Russian military may have been over in less than 24 hours, but the disarray within the enemy’s ranks was an unexpected gift and timely morale booster for Ukrainian troops

The spectacle of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s mutiny in the critical military command and control hub in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, and later Russia's scramble to fortify Moscow as troops marched to upend the country’s military leadership was greeted “with applause" by commanders of Ukraine’s Eastern Group of Forces, said its spokesperson, Serhii Cherevatiy.

“Soldiers at the front lines are positive about it," he said. “Any chaos and disorder on the enemy’s side benefits us."

(AP)

26 Jun 2023, 04:16:47 PM IST

Stocks, ruble drop as traders eye Russia after aborted uprising

The ruble reached a 14-month low against the dollar and major equity markets slid Monday after an aborted weekend mutiny in Russia that stoked concerns about stability in the nuclear-armed country.

26 Jun 2023, 03:49:43 PM IST

Russia shows Putin ally on TV with army after Wagner revolt

President Vladimir Putin’s defense minister visited combat troops in Ukraine, in an apparent Kremlin effort to bolster his position after a mercenary leader’s extraordinary mutiny demanding the removal of top military chiefs.

Sergei Shoigu was shown on state television Monday meeting with officers at what the Defense Ministry said was the forward command post of Russia’s ‘Zapad’ group of forces in the war zone in Ukraine. He was briefed “on the current situation, the nature of the enemy’s actions and the performance of combat missions by Russian troops," the ministry said in a Telegram statement that didn’t specify when the visit took place.

26 Jun 2023, 03:43:25 PM IST

China remains wary as Russia recovers from aborted Wagner mutiny

China had remained strangely silent as the crisis evolved in Russia. It was only late on June 25 that China's Foreign Ministry issued a terse statement. 

“This is Russia's internal affair. As Russia's friendly neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner of coordination for the new era, China supports," it said.

26 Jun 2023, 03:02:52 PM IST

Putin holds call with Emir of Qatar

26 Jun 2023, 02:52:19 PM IST

Prigozhin relocation plan adds new Belarus threat

Moscow lifted counter-terror measures put in place during mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s short-lived mutiny. His announced relocation to Belarus poses yet another threat to that country, exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said.

26 Jun 2023, 02:40:56 PM IST

Wagner crisis shows Ukraine war is 'cracking' Russia: EU

Wagner's aborted mutiny shows Moscow's war in Ukraine is splintering Russian power, the EU's top diplomat said Monday, warning of the risk of instability in the nuclear-armed nation.

"What has happened during this weekend shows that the war against Ukraine is cracking Russian power and affecting its political system," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said at a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers.

26 Jun 2023, 02:10:25 PM IST

Wagner mutiny: What NATO says

The aborted mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group in Russia demonstrates that Moscow committed a strategic mistake by waging war on Ukraine, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.

"As Russia continues its assault, it is even more important to continue our support to Ukraine."

26 Jun 2023, 01:50:20 PM IST

Wagner mutiny shows Moscow's 'big strategic mistake' in attacking Kyiv: NATO

The aborted mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group in Russia demonstrates that Moscow committed a strategic mistake by waging war on Ukraine, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.

"The events over the weekend are an internal Russian matter, and yet another demonstration of the big strategic mistake that President (Vladimir) Putin made with his illegal annexation of Crimea and the war against Ukraine," he told reporters on a visit to Lithuania's capital Vilnius.

26 Jun 2023, 01:14:55 PM IST

Moscow lifts anti-terror measures

Moscow lifted counter-terror measures put in place during mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s short-lived mutiny.

The ruble hit its weakest level in 15 months. Prigozhin’s turnaround from his advance toward Moscow defused the biggest threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s almost quarter-century grip on power.

26 Jun 2023, 01:03:50 PM IST

Wagner mutiny lays bare cracks in Moscow's military power -EU's Borrell

The aborted mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group in Russia shows cracks in Moscow's military power caused by the war on Ukraine, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday.

"The political system is showing fragilities, and the military power is cracking," he told reporters in Luxembourg ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

26 Jun 2023, 12:40:05 PM IST

Russia's National Anti-terrorism Committee says situation ‘stable’

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said he was cancelling a counter-terrorism regime imposed in the Russian capital during what the authorities on Saturday called an armed mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group.

Separately, Russia's National Anti-terrorism Committee said the situation in the country was "stable".

26 Jun 2023, 12:18:28 PM IST

Moscow mayor cancels Wagner mutiny anti-terror regime in city -statement

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said he was cancelling a counter-terrorism regime imposed in the Russian capital during what the authorities on Saturday called an armed mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group.

26 Jun 2023, 12:00:55 PM IST

‘Shame..traitor’ Russians vent anger at police after Wagner forces leave Rostov. Watch

After the return of the Wagner mercenary forces from the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, local police force was welcomed with remarks like ‘traitors’ and ‘shame!’ by people in the city on Sunday.

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