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Blinken says 'we haven't seen the last act' on Russia's Wagner revolt

Top U.S. officials are now evaluating what the rebellion means for Vladimir Putin's presidency.
Blinken says 'we haven't seen the last act' on Russia's Wagner revolt
Posted at 4:29 PM, Jun 25, 2023

As Russia has pulled back from the verge of an insurrection, top officials in the U.S. are saying it is too soon to speculate about the future impacts of Vladimir Putin’s more than two decades in power.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the armed uprising in Russia "extraordinary" but said it is too soon to know where this is going.

"I suspect that this is a moving picture, and we haven't seen the last act yet," said Blinken during an interview on CNN. "First of all, what we've seen is extraordinary, and I think you've seen cracks emerge that weren't there before."

A group of Russian mercenaries retreated from fighting in Ukraine and revolting against the Russian government. At one point, armed forces from the private military group marched towards Moscow.

"Having raised front and center questioning the very premises of the Russian aggression against Ukraine to begin with the argument that somehow Ukraine or NATO posed a threat to Russia and a direct challenge to Putin himself," said Blinken.

This was the most significant challenge to Putin in his more than two decades in power; it threatened to drive the country into chaos, could have been an imminent bloodbath, and destabilized its war efforts in Ukraine.

SEE MORE: The revolt and threat to Russia's political power explained

"This was really significant. It showed a demonstrable crack in the strength of Vladimir Putin at home. It was a visible rejection of its war policy by a guy who had been his ally who clearly had gone insubordinate on him," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota).

A crowd cheered as the head of the Wagner Group and his troops pulled out of the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don late Saturday.

The mercenary group had claimed to have seized key military sites in two Russian cities, forcing the Kremlin to deploy heavily armed troops in Moscow.

But the conflict was short-lived; late Saturday, the Kremlin said a deal had been reached to end the insurrection.

A deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko That would lead to the head of the Wagner Group being sent to Belarus without any criminal prosecution.

"We've seen this aggression against Ukraine become a strategic failure across the board. Russia is now distracted that Putin has to worry about what's going on inside of Russia as much as he has to worry about what he's trying to do. Not successfully in Ukraine," said Blinken.

Blinken also said it is unclear whether the revolt will be a positive development. He said the U.S. government is continuing to monitor the situation in Russia.

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