After Wagner’s aborted mutiny, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday warned that any attempt at “blackmail or internal turmoil” in Russia would fail and claimed that the West and Kyiv wanted Russians to “kill each other,” according to Al Jazeera.
The rebellion by armed mercenaries on Saturday lasted less than 24 hours. In a televised address to the nation on Monday, Putin said that since the start of the events, steps were taken on his orders to avoid large-scale bloodshed, as he thanked the Russians for endurance and support.
“It was precisely this fratricide that Russia’s enemies wanted: both the neo-Nazis in Kyiv and their Western patrons and all sorts of national traitors. They wanted Russian soldiers to kill each other,” he said, adding “Any blackmail, attempts to cause internal turmoil are doomed to failure.”
“From the start of the events, on my orders steps were taken to avoid large-scale bloodshed,” Putin said, according to Al Jazeera.
The Russian President also said that he would keep his word and permit Wagner fighters to move to Belarus if they so desired, or continue serving Russia by entering into a contract with the Ministry of Defense or other law enforcement agencies, reported Al Jazeera.
Additionally, he thanked his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko for serving as a mediator between Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner group, and Moscow.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said the purpose of the march towards Moscow was to stop the destruction of Wagner’s private military company and “bring to justice those who, through their unprofessional actions, made a huge number of mistakes during the special military operation”.
In an audio message released on Monday, he said that the march was a demonstration of protest and not intended to overthrow power.
Explaining his decision to turn around his march on Moscow, Prigozhin said he wanted to avoid Russian bloodshed. “We started our march because of an injustice. We went to demonstrate our protest and not to overthrow power in the country,” Prigozhin said in an audio message, Al Jazeera reported.
He, however, did not share any details regarding where he was or what his future plans are.