US Sanctions Wagner Boss Prigozhin; Putin praises Russian army for avoiding civil conflict

RUSSIA – After the failed coup led by Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin on Saturday, the eyes of the world continue to turn to Russia in what many consider to be the biggest challenge yet for the President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power for two decades. On Tuesday, Vladimir Putin gave a speech inside the Kremlin in which he praised the Russian armed forces and security services for preventing what he called a “civil war” in the country.

It comes after the president gave a televised address to the nation on Monday, in which he called the organizers of the rebellion “criminals” and threatened to bring them to justice in the future. He also claimed that the revolt would have been suppressed whether or not Prigozhin reached an agreement with the Kremlin, under which he would be banished to Belarus as part of the deal.

Following the uprising, questions were raised about Putin’s grip on power and the potential outcomes for the country. As Putin seeks to regain power in the country, many observers predict he will embark on a “purge”, while others doubt that Prigozhin and the other mutineers will be allowed to leave the country peacefully. On Monday at his home in the United States, Vice President Joe Biden made it clear that the US government had nothing to do with the failed weekend uprising.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to the leaders of Western nations for additional support to oppose the Russian invasion. On Monday, European foreign ministers and NATO officials pledged additional military aid to Ukraine. The EU’s military assistance fund is set to increase by 3.5 billion euros ($3.8 billion) to around 12 billion euros over the next few years. After spending the day visiting soldiers on the frontline in eastern and southern Ukraine, Zelenskyy hailed the advancement of the Ukrainian military “in all directions” in his nightly video message later Monday. He said this after spending the day visiting soldiers on the front line in eastern Ukraine.

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