United States — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that a coup attempt led by a mercenary and close Putin aide shows that Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine has caused turmoil not only in Ukraine but also in Russia. All in all, Putin was on the verge of wiping Ukraine off the face of the earth 16 months ago when he was just days away from storming the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv . “Now he had to defend Moscow, the capital of Russia, against a mercenary of his own making,” said Blinken, ABC’s “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl.
Blinken said, “We’ve seen some very serious cracks emerging,” adding, “Where they’re going, if anywhere, when they’re getting there, it’s very hard to say. I prefer not to make assumptions. However, he added that he “doesn’t think he’s seen the final act” as the private Wagner military force, a crucial asset in Russia’s activities in Ukraine, began advancing towards Moscow in an armed insurgency on Saturday. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader, dubbed it a “march for justice”.
On Friday, former war supporter Prigozhin publicly questioned Russia’s justification for invading Ukraine last year, saying that neither Ukraine nor the NATO alliance, which includes the United States, posed no immediate threat. Instead of Putin, Prigozhin has focused his criticism on Russian defense leaders such as Minister Sergei Shoigu.
As part of a pact between the Kremlin and neighboring Belarus, Prigozhin ended Wagner’s campaign in Russia in less than 24 hours. Prigozhin is likely to move to Belarus and Wagner’s forces will be virtually seized by the military, although details of the arrangement are still unknown. Putin himself called Prigozhin’s actions “treason”, but the Kremlin now says neither he nor his warriors will be prosecuted on such charges. Blinken told “This Week” on Sunday that many questions about the premise of the war, the conduct of the war and whether or not it did Russia any good had just surfaced.