US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken sent an emergency cable on Friday instructing US diplomats worldwide to stay silent about the then unfolding Wagner mutiny against the Russian military, according to a report.
Axios cited unnamed officials on Tuesday as saying that State Department personnel were told in a cable that they should not discuss the situation in Russia with anyone.
“If US diplomats were asked about the developments in Russia by representatives of foreign governments, the cable said they should only say the US is monitoring the situation,” the report said.
“The situation was being dealt with directly by the secretary and his closest staff,” it added.
The cable was sent to all US diplomats around the world, revealing the level of alert within the Biden administration regarding Russia’s situation and how important it is for the administration to control the US messaging on the situation publically and privately, the report said.
The report further stated the cable highlights that the US did not want to seem to be involved in the crisis in any way.
Speaking to ABC on Sunday, Blinken said the mutiny by Wagner was “fundamentally an internal matter for the Russians.”
The Wagner group, which fought alongside Russia in the conflict in Ukraine and helped capture the strategic city of Bakhmut in May, sparked a mutiny on Friday night in protest to Russia’s military leadership and their handling of the war in Ukraine.
According to a report published in the New York Times, US spy agencies “strongly suspected” that Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner's leader, 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.
The mutiny, which lasted less than 24 hours, came to an end after negotiations mediated by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. The negotiation aimed at de-escalating the situation convincing Prigozhin to turn his troops back on their path to Moscow to avoid bloodshed.
Kremlin later announced it has dropped charges against Prigozhin and that he was free to leave the country.
“The criminal case open over the armed uprising by the private military company Wagner has been closed,” Russian news agencies cited the FSB as saying in a statement.
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