"Wagner mercenaries were used randomly": Putin addresses Russians and condemns Prigozhin's rebellion. Highlights from the speech
On the evening of 26 June, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin delivered a "sensational" and "extremely important" address to his nation. The Russian dictator, in particular, summed up the results of the weekend and made statements that "will, without exaggeration, determine the fate of Russia".
This is how the dictator's speech was announced by his press secretary Dmitry Peskov, but as it turned out, Putin did not say anything of great importance, only commenting on the attempted military coup by the owner of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin. The Kremlin leader's address was published by the Kremlin press service (to watch the video, scroll to the end of the news story).
First of all, the president thanked Russians for their "endurance, cohesion and patriotism" and noted that any "blackmail and confusion are doomed to failure". He emphasised that the organisers of the coup, who betrayed the country, also betrayed those who were with them.
"The armed rebellion would have been suppressed in any case," Putin assured.
The dictator also praised the "courage and self-sacrifice" of the pilots who died during the Saturday events, who allegedly saved Russia from dire consequences.
"The vast majority of the Wagner fighters are patriots of the Motherland, they were used at random," Putin said.
The dictator assured that on his direct instructions, decisions were made to avoid bloodshed, and thanked those Wagner soldiers who "stopped at the last line, did not go to bloodshed".
In addition, the Kremlin leader expressed his gratitude to Lukashenko for his contribution to the settlement of the situation with the PMC and offered the Wagner mercenaries to sign a contract with the Ministry of Defence, return home or go to Belarus.
It should be noted that on that day, self-proclaimed President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko was also scheduled to address the nation in sync with Putin. However, at the last minute, it became known that it had been postponed to 27 June.
The armed rebellion of the leader of the so-called private military company Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, which never turned into a full-fledged military coup, nevertheless hit the Kremlin hard. The whole world saw Putin's humiliation and weakness, and this, in turn, revealed new threats.
At the same time, as noted by the media, the Kremlin's negotiations with Prigozhin began in the evening of 23 June, when he announced the start of his "march of justice", and around mid-day on 24 June, the mercenary curator tried to get in touch with the state leadership himself - and allegedly even "tried to call Putin, but the president did not want to talk to him". Therefore, the negotiating group was headed by self-proclaimed President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko.
According to the source, the "benefit" for Lukashenko is obvious: publicly, he has become the person who "saved Russia from civil war at most, and at least from a lot of blood".