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With mutiny over, Russia’s prime minister underscores ‘rallying around’ Putin

People stand near the closed Red Square in Moscow, Russia, June 25, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin says the Russian nation should beef up support for President Vladimir Putin since the country has been facing “a challenge to its stability” in the wake of a fleeting armed mutiny by the paramilitary Wagner Group.

Mishustin said during a televised government meeting on Monday, “We need to act together, as one team, and maintain the unity of all forces, rallying around the president.”

On June 23, in an audio message posted on Telegram, Wagner’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin accused the Russian top brass of launching strikes against his men and said “the evil which the Russian military leadership carries must be stopped.” He claimed he had taken control of the southern city Rostov-on-Don as part of an attempt to oust the military leadership. Prigozhin had accused Russia’s military top brass of ordering a rocket attack on Wagner’s field camps in Ukraine, where Russia has been leading a military operation, killing “huge numbers” of his paramilitary forces.

The mutiny ended on Saturday with a deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Russia's national Anti-Terrorism Committee said the situation in the country was stable and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said he was canceling a counter-terrorism regime imposed in the capital.

A video released by the defense ministry on Monday showed Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu flying in a plane with a colleague and hearing reports at a command post.

Monday was declared a non-working day in Moscow to allow time for things to settle, and there was little evidence of increased security in the capital.

“Saturday was a very emotional and tense day,” Russia's ministry of digital affairs said, recommending that IT, telecoms and media companies give employees the day off on Monday.



State television said President Putin would attend a meeting of the Russian Security Council this week.

According to a report published in the New York Times, US spy agencies “strongly suspected” that Prigozhin was planning to take military action against Russia days before he ordered his troops to march on Moscow.

However, US officials decided to keep silent about Prigozhin’s plans. The pretext was that if they said anything, Putin could have accused them of orchestrating a coup, the report said.

Margarita Simonyan, the chief of Russia’s state broadcaster, was also cited as saying in Russian media on Saturday that there is “no doubt” the mutiny was orchestrated by the secret services of the United States, Britain, and Israel.


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