Russia’s President Vladimir Putin spoke to the nation for the first time since the events related to the Wagner Brigade fighters last Saturday.
A televised speech from the Kremlin in which he pointed out that attempts to create disorder had ‘failed. Our militiamen have remained loyal’. Here are the main passages of Vladimir Putin’s speech.
Putin’s words from the Kremlin
“From the very beginning of events,” Putin said, “all necessary decisions were immediately taken to neutralise the threat that had arisen, to protect the constitutional order and the lives and security of our citizens.
“From the very beginning of the events, on my direct instructions, measures were taken to prevent bloodshed. It took time, also to give those who made a mistake a chance to change their minds.”
An armed rebellion, Putin said, would have been crushed anyway. The organisers of the rebellion committed criminal acts to divide and weaken the country, which is now facing a colossal external threat, unprecedented pressure.
Putin: ‘Fratricide was what Russia’s enemies wanted’
“It was precisely this fratricide – that Russia’s enemies wanted. Both the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, their Western protectors, and all sorts of national traitors. They wanted Russian soldiers to kill each other, to kill soldiers and civilians, so that in the end Russia would lose and our society would be divided, suffocating in a bloody civil war’.
They screwed their hands, Putin reiterated, but they miscalculated. Instead, all our military, our special services, managed to retain their loyalty to their country, saved Russia from destruction.
Putin: ‘The vast majority of Wagner Group fighters and commanders are also Russian patriots’
“The vast majority of the fighters and commanders of the Wagner group are also Russian patriots, devoted to their people and state”.
Thus Putin continued but without ever mentioning their leader Yevgeny Prigozhin.
“Now they have the opportunity to continue serving Russia by signing a contract with the Ministry of Defence or other law enforcement agencies, or to return to their families, or whoever wants can go to Belarus. The promise I made will be kept.”
Putin’s meeting after addressing the Nation
Putin after addressing the Nation held a meeting with the heads of security agencies and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.
“After delivering his speech, Putin met with Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov, Kremlin Chief of Staff Anton Vaino, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, FSB director Alexander Bortnikov, National Guard chief Viktor Zolotov, Federal Protective Service of Russia director Dmitry Kochnev, and Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Ria Novosti as saying.
President Lukashenko of Belarus speaks to the nation tomorrow
Putin finally thanked President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus ‘for his efforts and contribution to the peaceful resolution of the situation’.
Lukashenko will speak and answer journalists’ questions tomorrow.
At first it had been rumoured that he was to address the nation this evening at the same time as Putin, but his speech was then postponed to 27 June.