President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Tuesday tried to recast the weekend rebel by the mercenary chief Yevgeny V. Prigozhin as a heroic episode for a rock-solid Russian state, whereas neighboring Belarus mentioned Mr. Prigozhin had gone into exile there, and signaled that it might be open to taking in his battle-hardened troops, as effectively.
Russia’s home intelligence company mentioned it was dropping its legal investigation of Mr. Prigozhin, who drove fighters from his Wagner group towards Moscow earlier than standing down on Saturday, and the Defense Ministry mentioned that Wagner was making ready at hand over its heavy tools to the army.
But even as the Kremlin projected an air of management and stability, prime officers made clear that the fallout was not completed, signaling that it would root out individuals who have been tied to the mercenary chief or who have been insufficiently steadfast in help of Mr. Putin in the course of the disaster.
In a televised assembly with army service members in Moscow, Mr. Putin advised that Mr. Prigozhin — whose identify he has refused to utter publicly in latest days — or individuals linked to him is likely to be responsible of graft. He mentioned that Mr. Prigozhin, a catering magnate, had made roughly $1 billion from army catering contracts previously 12 months, and that the federal government had spent one other $1 billion supporting the Wagner forces who’ve been brutally efficient in preventing for Russia in Ukraine.
“I want everyone to know this: The support for the Wagner group was completely provided by the state,” Mr. Putin mentioned, earlier than concluding with a warning: “I hope that in the course of this work, no one stole anything — or, let’s say, didn’t steal much — but we will certainly get to the bottom of this.”
It continued a shift within the opaque energy dynamics of Russia’s ruling elite, the place cronyism and corruption can provide a tolerated path to affect and riches — until the individuals concerned run afoul of these on the prime. What the president didn’t acknowledge was that Mr. Prigozhin rose to prominence and wealth primarily based totally on his longtime former closeness to Mr. Putin, himself.
The chairman of Russia’s decrease home of Parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, directed lawmakers to find out which authorities officers had fled Moscow in the course of the rebel and declared that “this should be punished.”
In a grandly choreographed and televised outside look on the Kremlin, Mr. Putin descended an extended, red-carpeted staircase and delivered a speech from a stage on the medieval-era Cathedral Square, which was adopted by a gun salute and music from a army band. He paid tribute to the troops and safety forces who he mentioned had proven “determination and courage” in defending Moscow on Saturday as Wagner forces superior to inside 125 miles of the capital.
“Some of our comrades in arms died in the confrontation with the mutineers,” he mentioned. “Airmen. They did not flinch, and, with honor, carried out their order and their military duty.”
Mr. Putin’s busy day earlier than the tv cameras confirmed that the Kremlin was intent on taking management of the general public narrative after Russia’s incapacity to forestall a insurgent power from seizing a serious metropolis and advancing a whole lot of miles towards Moscow surprised the world. Wagner’s seize of Rostov-on-Don and march on the capital appeared to threaten civil battle — and probably catastrophe for Russia’s battle effort in Ukraine — till it ended abruptly on Saturday.
President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus mentioned that in a cellphone name on Saturday, Mr. Putin, his shut ally, raised the choice of merely killing Mr. Prigozhin, however that he had satisfied the Russian president “not to do anything rash.” His model of the dialog couldn’t be verified independently, and the Kremlin didn’t instantly touch upon it.
Mr. Lukashenko performed middleman within the deal that halted the rebel and provided asylum to Mr. Prigozhin, with the promise that he wouldn’t be prosecuted by Russia.
A Russian-registered jet that has been linked to the Wagner boss flew on Tuesday from Russia to Belarus, in line with flight monitoring web sites, and Belarus’s state information service mentioned he had arrived within the nation. There was no affirmation from Mr. Prigozhin himself.
Speaking at a ceremony honoring army officers in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, Mr. Lukashenko mentioned he had mentioned along with his protection minister, Viktor G. Khrenin, the likelihood of welcoming Wagner fighters to his nation. “Khrenin said, ‘It would not bother me to have such a unit in the army,’” Mr. Lukashenko mentioned. He added that he had replied, “I agree. Talk to them.”
He mentioned he had provided Wagner an “abandoned” army base, however harassed that no camps have been being constructed specifically for the mercenary group. His feedback have been recorded and broadcast by Belarusian state media.
The standing of Wagner troops in Ukraine, whose numbers Mr. Prigozhin has estimated at 25,000, gave the impression to be on the coronary heart of his break with the Kremlin. For months he has accused the army hierarchy, notably Defense Minister Sergei Okay. Shoigu, of incompetence within the battle in opposition to Ukraine, and of depriving Wagner of wanted assets.
Mr. Prigozhin mentioned on Monday that he by no means meant to overthrow the federal government, however advised that he had aimed to oust army leaders like Mr. Shoigu. His short-lived rebellion, he mentioned, “was to prevent the destruction of Wagner and to bring to justice those persons who, by their unprofessional actions, made a huge number of mistakes.”
Last month, the federal government ordered that every one irregular forces preventing in Ukraine signal contracts with the Defense Ministry by July 1, this coming Saturday, stripping Wagner of its independence. Mr. Prigozhin protested bitterly that his power was being destroyed and mentioned most of his troops wouldn’t signal, however Mr. Putin backed the order, definitively siding with the ministry within the energy battle.
Mr. Shoigu has been featured prominently in state media information protection over the past two days, in what gave the impression to be a present of stability and a vote of confidence. He was seen at Mr. Putin’s speech on Tuesday, at a gathering with Mr. Putin on Monday and in a video launched on Monday exhibiting the protection minister visiting army positions, apparently days earlier.
Mr. Lukashenko on Tuesday provided his first public perception into how the rebellion ended, presenting himself as a central determine within the drama, together with some veiled criticism of all concerned, together with Mr. Putin.
He spoke with Mr. Putin at 10:10 a.m. on Saturday, he mentioned, they usually mentioned the likelihood of killing the Wagner chief. He mentioned he had urged warning, and had assured the Russian chief that “a bad peace is better than any war.”
Later, he mentioned, he spoke with Mr. Prigozhin, attempting to steer him to face down and warning him that the Russians would “squash him like a bug.”
“It was exceptional,” he mentioned of the dialog with Mr. Prigozhin. “There were 10 times more swear words — I later analyzed — than normal vocabulary.”
Mr. Lukashenko appeared to acknowledge that the stress between Mr. Shoigu and Mr. Prigozhin had been allowed to spiral out of management. “Two people who fought at the front collided,” he mentioned.
The Belarusian chief mentioned that neither he, Mr. Putin nor Mr. Prigozhin had emerged as “heroes” from the weekend upheaval — they’d “missed the situation, and then we thought that it would resolve, but it did not resolve.”
“It was painful to watch the events that took place in the south of Russia,” he added. “Not only for me. Many of our citizens took them to heart because the Fatherland is one.”
Mr. Lukashenko has managed to carry onto energy for 29 years, however at a value. Belarus has more and more grow to be a repressive vassal state of Russia, handled as a pariah by the West and depending on Moscow for help. He acquired Kremlin backing in 2020, when he violently crushed a democracy motion difficult his declare to a landslide re-election win. In 2022 he let Mr. Putin use Belarus’s territory as a staging floor for his invasion of Ukraine, and he just lately allowed Russia to station tactical nuclear weapons in his nation.
He was motivated to intervene within the Wagner mutiny, Mr. Lukashenko mentioned bluntly, as a result of “if Russia collapses, we will remain under the rubble — we will all die.”
Like Mr. Lukashenko, Viktor V. Zolotov, the pinnacle of Russia’s nationwide guard, could have come out forward within the energy battle. He informed reporters after Mr. Putin’s speech that he was “constantly in touch with the president” in the course of the rebel and that his troops have been able to “fight to the death” to defend Moscow.
Mr. Zolotov, a former bodyguard to Mr. Putin, mentioned he had already mentioned with the president the necessity to present his power — which is separate from the army — with “tanks and long-range heavy weaponry.”
“This is a very urgent question right now,” he mentioned, in line with the Tass state information company. “We will introduce this into the forces.”