US Secretary of State Blinken discusses events in Russia with Polish FM
Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has discussed the situation involving the Wagner Group private military company (PMC) and its head Yevgeny Prigozhin with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau over the phone, US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said.
"Secretary Blinken spoke today with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau to discuss the ongoing situation in Russia. Secretary Blinken welcomed Poland’s sustained assistance to Ukraine and its people and underscored that U.S. support to Ukraine will not change," Miller said in a Saturday statement.
The spokesperson added that the US will remain in close coordination with its Allies and partners as the situation in Russia develops.
Earlier on Saturday, Miller said that Blinken held a phone call with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, discussing the recent events in Russia.
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said on Saturday that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed the situation in Russia with the defense ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Poland, and the United Kingdom and agreed to stay in close coordination with the Allies.
Blinken discussed the situation in Russia with G7 foreign ministers and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Saturday.
On Friday, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) opened a criminal case for inciting armed mutiny over statements made on behalf of Prigozhin. The FSB said that there was a threat of escalation on Russian territory. The Russian Defense Ministry said that social media reports of alleged Russian military strikes on PMC Wagner camps were not true.
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a televised address to the nation on Saturday in which he described the actions of the Wagner Group PMC as an armed mutiny and treason, and promised harsh measures against the insurgents.
Later in the day, the Belarusian presidential office said that Prigozhin accepted the proposal of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to stop the movement of Wagner troops in Russia and take further steps to de-escalate the situation. Prigozhin later confirmed the information, saying that Wagner troops were returning back to their field camps.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Saturday evening that the criminal case against Prigozhin would be terminated and he would leave for Belarus under guarantees given by Putin. The spokesman added that members of the Wagner PMC who were involved in the Saturday events would not be prosecuted given their distinguished service during Russia's special military operation in Ukraine.