“All attempts to create internal disorder will fail,” President Putin said on Monday evening in a televised address to the nation.
Putin condemned what he called the “criminal actions” of those who staged an “armed mutiny” and said the uprising would have been suppressed but authorities wanted to avoid bloodshed.
“The Ukrainian neo-Nazis wanted just that, for Russian soldiers to kill other Russians, for our society to split, to suffocate in bloodshed. Instead, our entire military, our special services, have managed to retain their loyalty to their country, managed to save Russia from destruction.”
Putin last spoke to the nation on Saturday morning, as fighters from the mercenary Wagner Group launched a march on Moscow, something their leader Yevgeny Prigozhin described on Monday as a protest, not an attempt to overthrow the government.
Going forward, Putin said, members of the Wagner Group can sign a contract to put themselves under the orders of the Defence Ministry, return to their families or go to Belarus. Putin did not mention Prigozhin by name but said organizers of this weekend’s armed rebellion will be brought to justice.
Prigozhin’s current whereabouts are unknown but Russian state media reports say he is at a hotel in Minsk after calling off his uprising on Saturday after negotiations with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.