This is the situation as it stands on Tuesday, June 27, 2023.
Wagner mutiny fallout
- Speaking on state television, Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked Russian security forces and citizens for opposing the Wagner Group mutiny and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for mediating with Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin. Putin said he would honour his promise to allow Wagner soldiers to move to Belarus if they wanted, sign a contract with Russia’s defence ministry or return to their families.
- Putin also paid tribute to pilots who were killed during the failed weekend mutiny, confirming earlier reports by military bloggers that several planes were shot down. “The courage and self-sacrifice of the fallen heroes-pilots saved Russia from tragic devastating consequences,” Putin said. He did not say how many many pilots died or how many aircraft were shot down.
- Prigozhin released an 11-minute audio message on Telegram defending his soldiers’ “march on Moscow” at the weekend and saying the move was a protest against Russia’s military leadership, not an attempted coup. He did not offer any details about his location or future plans.
- Despite the deal announced earlier to end the Wagner mutiny, Prigozhin remains under investigation for trying to organise an armed rebellion, according to Russian news agencies. “The criminal case against (Yevgeny) Prigozhin has not been dropped,” the three main Russian news agencies quoted a source in the prosecutor’s office as saying.
- Russia’s defence ministry released a video showing Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu visiting troops in Ukraine in his first public appearance since the abortive Wagner mutiny.
- Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said the country faced “a challenge to its stability” and must remain united. He was speaking during a government meeting on national unity, which was broadcast on TV.
- United States President Joe Biden said that Washington and NATO had no involvement in the Wagner uprising. Biden said he has spoken with “key allies” in the wake of the events and they agreed it was important to give Putin “no excuse to blame this on the West”. Earlier, the State Department said US Ambassador Lynne Tracy had directly contacted Russia on Saturday and made it clear that the US was not involved.
- China said the revolt was Russia’s “internal affair” and reiterated Beijing’s role as “a friendly neighbour and comprehensive strategic partnership partner in the new era”.
- European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers that Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine was splintering Russian power and that instability in the nuclear-armed country was “not a good thing”.
- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the short-lived Wagner rebellion demonstrated the weakness of Russia’s leaders and the scale of the Kremlin’s strategic mistake in waging war on Ukraine.
- Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Wagner’s rebellion highlighted the need for a stronger NATO presence along the security alliance’s eastern flank.
- Putin spoke on the phone with a number of world leaders, including the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, and the President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The Kremlin said the leaders showed their support for Russia’s actions on June 24.
- A statement from Qatar’s state news agency QNA said Sheikh Tamim “affirmed Qatar’s position of calling for resolving differences through dialogue and diplomatic means” and called for a “need to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders”.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the front lines in the eastern Donetsk region, which is partly occupied by Russian forces. According to a statement from his office, Zelenskyy visited military units involved in heavy fighting around the city of Bakhmut and met soldiers relaxing at a highway petrol station. “Today, in all sectors, our soldiers made advances,” he said in his nightly video address, which was recorded on a train.
- Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said Ukraine had liberated about 130 square kilometres (50 sq miles) of territory in the south of Ukraine since beginning its counteroffensive. Maliar said later Ukraine had also pushed Russian forces out of the southeastern village of Rivnopil.
- The United Kingdom’s Defence Ministry said the UK and its allies had trained more than 17,000 Ukrainian recruits over the past year.
- Serhiy Lysak, the governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, said at least two people were killed when Russian artillery hit Nikopol. One person was injured.
- Sweden announced an additional 380 million kronor ($35m) as a “humanitarian summer package” of aid for Ukraine. The package will specifically be aimed at “the most acute needs” including food and water, healthcare, and mine clearing.
- A Ukrainian woman brought charges in Germany against four members of the Russian military for allegedly raping her and killing her husband in an attack “a few weeks” after the start of Moscow’s full-scale invasion. The complaint was filed with the German federal prosecutors in Karlsruhe together with the human rights group ECCHR and the Ukrainian Legal Advisory Group NGO.
- Australia announced a new assistance package for Ukraine worth 110 million Australian dollars ($73.5m), which includes 70 more military vehicles as well as a consignment of ammunition.
- EU countries agreed to increase the maximum size of a Ukraine military aid fund by 3.5 billion euros ($3.8 bn), boosting the total amount to 12 billion euros ($13,089bn).
- UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK-supplied Storm Shadow long-range missiles had had a “significant impact” on the battlefield in Ukraine.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies