Russian president Vladimir Putin has insisted that a bloody civil war has been averted in Russia after the Wagner coup collapsed.
He also pointed a finger at Ukraine and the West for their role in the armed mutiny.
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In a short pre-recorded TV address, Putin accused Ukraine and its Western allies of wanting Russians to ‘kill each other’. He denounced Prigozhin’s mutineers as ‘criminals’ and warned that they would be brought to ‘justice’. He then claimed that Ukraine and the West were hoping that the rebellion would lead to civil war in Russia.
The Mail Online reports: The president attempted to reassure Russians that a civil war had been avoided a nd that the Kremlin was back in control of the country.
In a desperate bid to assert his authority, the despot snarled: ‘From the start of the events, on my orders steps were taken to avoid large-scale bloodshed.
‘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 made no mention of Prigozhin, who is understood to have agreed to stand donw, go into exile in Belarus and give up control of the Wagner group in exchange for amnesty – in a deal brokered by Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko.
Prigozhin had earlier defended his aborted mutiny as a bid to save his mercenary outfit and expose the failures of Russia’s military leadership in Ukraine – but said it was not a challenge to the Kremlin itself.
In his blistering address, Putin claimed that he had ordered that bloodshed be avoided and offered Wagner fighters to join the Russian army or leave the country after their mutiny.
‘From the start of the events, on my orders steps were taken to avoid large-scale bloodshed,’ he said.
‘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,’ he said.
He then went on to claim that any armed rebellion would have been suppressed, stating: ‘The organisers of the rebellion, despite their loss of rationality, could not fail to understand this.
‘They were well aware, including the fact that they were engaging in criminal actions, causing division and weakening the country, which is currently facing an enormous external threat and unprecedented pressure from abroad.’
Of Ukraine and the West, he said: ‘They rubbed their hands together, dreaming of revenge for their failures on the frontlines and during the so-called counteroffensive, but they miscalculated.’
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