A top US diplomat has held disastrous talks with America’s closest allies as mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group launch an armed uprising against President Vladimir Putin.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is known to his G7 and EU colleagues on Saturday morning after Wagner’s militants seized control of some naval services in southern Russia.
“The US will work closely with allies and partners as the situation evolves,” Blinken tweeted.
Blinken spoke to all his G7 counterparts from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, as well as the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Foreign Office said.
Diplomats cited “the current situation in Russia,” according to a State Department press release confirming the decision.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (above) said on Saturday that he was speaking with his G7 and EU counterparts after Wagner’s militants seized control of some naval services in southern Russia.
“Secretary Blinken reiterated that the United States’ support for Ukraine will not change,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a press release.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin says Putin met with leaders of Russia’s closest allies on Saturday after the armed uprising led by mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin had spoken by phone with the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and “informed his colleagues about the situation.”
Putin also spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey is a NATO member, but maintains naval ties with Russia,
The Kremlin statement mentioned that the Russian leader Erdogan informed “about the situation in the country in connection with the attempted armed uprising” and that the Turkish president “expressed full support for the steps taken by the Russian leadership.”
Wagner’s forces are led by Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner Group, who on Friday launched what was known as an armed uprising to oust Putin’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu.
Although the situation in Russia was still extremely unstable and uncertain, there were signs that Wagner’s forces were advancing rapidly in the direction of Moscow.
The governor of Russia’s Lipetsk province said on Saturday that a group of mercenaries had entered the district.
The Lipetsk region is about 360 kilometers south of Moscow and much closer to the capital than Rostov-on-Don, where Wagner’s troops appeared on Friday night.
The authorities are taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the citizens. The situation is under management,” Governor Igor Artamonov said on Telegram. He gave no information about Wagner’s presence.
In a show of how critical the Kremlin took Prigozhin’s threat, riot police and the National Guard rushed to beef up security at key Moscow offices, as well as government offices and transport infrastructure, Russian state media reported.
A developing story, extra to come back.