US president says outcome of aborted rebellion ‘remains to be seen,’ vows to keep allies, partners united
President Joe Biden maintained Monday that the US “had nothing to do with” last weekend’s aborted rebellion by a Russian private military company that saw paramilitary forces rapidly move towards Moscow.
Biden said during a White House event that the Wagner Group’s assault “was part of a struggle within the Russian system” between the paramilitary and the Russian government, adding that he gathered with allies over the weekend to ensure “we gave (Russian President) Vladimir Putin no excuse to blame this on the West, or to blame this on NATO.”
“We’re gonna keep assessing the fallout of this weekend’s events and the implications for Russia and Ukraine. But it’s still too early to reach a definitive conclusion about where this is going,” Biden said during an East Room event focused on high-speed internet infrastructure.
“The outcome of all this remains to be seen. But no matter what comes next, I will keep making sure that our allies and our partners are closely aligned in how we are reading and responding to the situation. It’s important we stay completely coordinated,” he added.
On Saturday, the paramilitary Wagner Group accused the Russian Defense Ministry of attacking its fighters.
The announcement was followed by a group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin declaring “A March of Justice” and crossing the Ukrainian border into the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, where his forces captured a critical military installation.
Prigozhin said his fighters would proceed to Moscow, prompting the Kremlin to tighten security across various regions of the country.
He later said his fighters decided to turn back to avoid bloodshed when they were 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Moscow, while Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he held talks with the Wagner head with Putin’s consent, and Prigozhin accepted a de-escalation deal.