Putin Gives Address, Zelensky Asks Biden for More Aid, White House Intends to Send It

AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

In a five-minute Monday address, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Wagner group “traitors” and condemned the march of mutiny as playing into the hands of Ukraine, who wanted to see the country “drowned in a bloody domestic strife.” As previously reported, Wagner’s leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and others involved in the uprising will not be spared from the Kremlin’s criminal prosecution, although that agreement was reported to be the condition upon which the march to Moscow was called off on Saturday.

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Prigozhin released a statement denying that the march had been an attempt to seize power in the Kremlin, instead painting it as a somewhat democratic march and display of opposition regarding demanded contracts Wagner’s fighters were to sign from the Ministry of Defense, leaving the militia to be disbanded by July 1. 

In his speech, Putin did not mention Prigozhin by name or any statements about his criminal prosecution. 

Putin said:

The organizers of this rebellion not only betrayed their country and their people but also betrayed those whom they dragged into this mutiny.

President Putin thanked the Russian people for their support, saying that the crisis had only served to unite the country. He also cast many Wagner participants as victims of the ordeal, saying:

We do know that the overwhelming majority of the Wagner group are also operators of Russia. They proved it by their courage on the battlefield. They were being used. I thank those soldiers who prevented bloodshed, who stopped at the final line: Now you have a chance to continue your service to Russia by signing a contract with the Ministry of Defence or any law enforcement agencies or go back to your families. Those who wish to will be able to go to Belarus. I will keep my promise.

Putin also warned that any initiatives to undermine the nation domestically would fail, saying:

Any kind of blackmail, any attempts to create internal turmoil are doomed to failure.

Later on Monday, Ukrainian President Zelenksy released a video on Twitter revealing that he had spoken to “partners,” including U.S. President Joe Biden, about providing more weapons.

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Zelensky said:

Yesterday, I had talks with partners, including President Biden, primarily about arms supplies. Today, I was in the area where these weapons will give more power, more protection to Ukrainians’ lives. And bring our victory closer, this is the main thing. All our land will be free – all of it.

In the video, he described the frontline conditions on the battlefield as “active” but also called it “a happy day,” noting successes of various military objectives and branches. He thanked “everyone” for words of support and sent sentiments of warm hugs, and mentioned honors that he had awarded to several Heroes of Ukraine recipients. 

In a press briefing at the White House on Monday, National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby unveiled another round of aid going to Ukraine, saying it would be announced within the week.

Kirby said:

Our focus is on making sure that they have what they need to succeed, whether it’s training, tools, equipment, and you’re gonna see another round of support announced from this administration for Ukraine in terms of weapons and capabilities this week. We are focused on that, that’s where our heads are.

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Curiously, less than a week ago, the Pentagon reported an accounting error that left a surplus of $6.2 billion. This surplus, as previously reported, was supposed to mitigate the need for an additional assistance package from Congress… a package that the White House said it would not seek before the fiscal year ends in September. 

It remains unclear where the additional monies would be allocated from, previous drawdown allowances, or a measure brought to Congress.

Read More:

Pentagon Reveals $6.2 Billion Overestimation in Weapons Sent to Ukraine

Putin’s Non-Prosecution Deal for Wagner Already Revoked, Prigozhin Denies It Was a Coup

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