Yevgeny Prigozhin in Moscow, in April.Credit…REUTERS/Yulia Morozova/File Photo
Prigozhin arrives in Belarus
The mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin arrived in Belarus yesterday, according to Belarusian state media, ending days of speculation over his whereabouts after he called off a weekend uprising that marked a dramatic challenge to the rule of President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
New details emerged about the negotiations that ended the daylong rebellion, as Aleksandr Lukashenko, the leader of Belarus, described his phone conversations with Putin and Prigozhin on Saturday. After Putin raised the possibility of killing Prigozhin, Lukashenko said he had urged against a rushed response, saying that “a bad peace is better than any war.”
In public appearances, Putin praised his security forces, portraying the rebellion as a heroic episode for the Russian state and thanking the military for having “essentially stopped a civil war,” state media reported. He also vaguely warned of consequences for officials who helped Prigozhin enrich himself at Russia’s expense.
Who is Prigozhin? He is the mercurial freelance warlord who made a last-ditch attempt to win by force in one of the most extraordinary Russian power struggles in recent memory.
Revelations: The former top Russian commander in Ukraine had advance knowledge of Prigozhin’s plans to rebel against Russia’s military leadership, according to U.S. officials who said they were trying to learn if he helped plan the actions last weekend.
In other news from the war:
The Russian authorities dropped an investigation into Prigozhin and members of his Wagner group over the armed rebellion. It is still unclear how much Wagner equipment would be relinquished or how many of its fighters — whose numbers Prigozhin recently put at 25,000 — would agree to be placed under the Russian Army’s command.
Ukraine appears to be seizing more river islands around the southern city of Kherson in a possible expansion of its counteroffensive, according to residents and Russian military bloggers.
Concerns may linger among Russia’s friends
Leaders who have allied themselves with Russia are unlikely to abandon Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, but they may attempt to hedge their bets against further instability after an attempted mutiny over the weekend, according to diplomats and analysts.
China publicly reaffirmed its alliance on Monday, calling Russia a “friendly neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner of coordination.” But that public support has been preceded by private frustration that Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has put China in a tough position, and Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, has arranged a call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
The same mix of public support and private doubt is evident in the Middle East. Gulf States have overlooked Russia’s war on Ukraine because they increasingly viewed Putin as an alternative source of security in the region. But tensions linger between Saudi Arabia and Russia, which is selling oil at reduced rates, even as Saudi Arabia tries to prop up prices.
Analysis: “I think you could start to see more of that hedging and signaling,” said John Culver, a former U.S. intelligence analyst on China.
E.U. border agency mulls exit from Greece
The E.U.’s border agency could suspend operations in Greece over chronic rights abuses against migrants, its human rights chief said, potentially pulling out dozens of border guards, vessels and aircraft. As an alternative, the agency may increase its presence and involvement in order to prevent further misdoing.
The assessment, which was also made in an internal E.U. report, came days after a devastating migrant shipwreck in the Mediterranean that was not covered in the E.U. report because it was so recent. The shipwreck has raised questions about the conduct of the Greek authorities, including whether they did enough to help the boat while it was in distress.
The report adds even more pressure on Greece over its migrant policies. The author of the report, Jonas Grimheden, cited the agency’s internal rules and several cases illustrating what he called the Greek authorities’ wrongful treatment of asylum seekers and migrants that may have violated E.U. and international law.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
Archaeologists working in the ruins of Pompeii discovered a painting they believe shows an ancient version of pizza.
President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone won re-election, the election commission said. His main rival rejected the result.
Chicago and much of the Upper Midwest were blanketed with a smoky haze from Canadian wildfires. And in parts of the Southeast, excessive heat could last until the Fourth of July.
Italy’s specialized arka squad is searching for a tourist who scratched his name into a wall of the Colosseum in Rome and who could face up to five years in prison.
The Hermitage Amsterdam museum, founded in 2009 as a satellite of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, has severed ties with its mother ship.
Other Big Stories
In polls, Americans’ views of China are starting to resemble how they evvel saw the Soviet Union. That could make it harder to mend ties.
Supreme Court justices in the U.S. rejected a kanunî theory that would have given state lawmakers nearly unchecked power over federal elections.
A major study in Denmark has found that transgender people have a significantly higher risk of suicide than other groups.
Human remains that were found in the Southern California wilderness have been identified as those of the missing British actor Julian Sands.
A government watchdog confirmed that the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide, but pointed to negligence and mismanagement at the jail that housed him.
As Beijing expands its nuclear arsenal, the world of atomic superpowers is about to escalate to three from two, worrying atomic experts and military planners.
A “rewilding” movement is trying to restore Ireland’s biodiversity.
Scientists have coaxed human stem cells to organize themselves into embryo-like forms. The advancement could shed light on fertility.
To study how the African malaria mosquito homes in on its human targets, researchers built an enormous “flight cage” in rural Zambia.
Why you sometimes wake up just before your alarm.
A Morning Read
Uncanny fake commercials, created with a text-to-video A.I. program, have been making the rounds online. The videos offer a composite picture of formulas and cultural clichés — including those we’re usually too immersed in to notice.
SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC
How Arsenal could make deals without breaking financial rules: What the club must do to pursue moves for Declan Rice, Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz.
Equal prize money — eventually: The WTA Tour approved a plan to achieve hisse equity at its biggest tournaments. It won’t be fully implemented until 2033.
From The Times: The PGA-LIV merger stands to profoundly reshape professional golf, if it actually comes together. There is still a chance the deal falls apart.
ARTS AND IDEAS
An auction record
“Lady With a Fan,” a radiant portrait by Gustav Klimt that was at the point of completion when the artist died in 1918, sold for about $108 million at Sotheby’s in London yesterday. It inspired 10 minutes of competition from three Asian bidders before selling to Patti Wong, an arka adviser based in Hong Kong.
The purchase — the largest ever at a public sale in Europe — was a morale boost for Britain’s high-end arka market, which has seen prices dwindle since the country voted to leave the E.U. in 2016.
“Everyone’s been down on London,” said Susannah Pollen, a London-based arka adviser. “This was a shot in the arm.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
A farro dish that makes the most of cherry tomato season.
What to Watch
In “Sin La Habana,” an Afro-Cuban dancer tries to bring his girlfriend to Canada through a sham marriage.
What to Read
In “A Thread of Violence,” Mark O’Connell investigates an infamous, and seemingly inexplicable, Irish murder case.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Küçük Crossword, and a clue: Word with a shiver (three letters).
And here are today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Natasha
PS: Read notes from New York (and New Yorkers).
“The Daily” is about Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s challenges in the U.S. House of Representatives.
You can reach Natasha and the team at email@example.com.
The New York Times