Putin admits Russia was on brink of ‘CIVIL WAR’ during Wagner mutiny in closed-off speech to spooked generals | The Sun

VLADIMIR Putin has told his troops they stopped a "civil war" as the trembling tyrant clings to power after the Wagner Group coup.

The 70-year-old despot addressed a carefully selected crowd of his generals and soldiers in the Kremlin's sealed-off Cathedral Square in Moscow.

He insisted the rebel mercenaries "never had the support" of the people – despite pictures showing the Wagner troops being met by cheering crowds in Rostov.

"You de facto stopped civil war," said Putin.

Vlad was speaking as the war of words continues between the Kremlin and Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin – who attempted to march on Moscow on Saturday.

Russian officials have said Priogzhin is free to go as he faces exile in Belarus, but in a firey statement last night the warlord once again attacked Russia's leadership over the war in Ukraine.


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Weary-looking Putin was flanked by soldiers as he spoke from behind a podium in the highly secure Kremlin compound at the heart of Moscow.

And he requested a minute of silence to honour the Russian military pilots who were killed during the rebellion by the Wagner Group.

The tyrant was joined by his defence minister Sergei Shoigu.

Shoigu was one of the main focuses of Wagner's anger as they called for the bumbling politician to be sacked over the war in Ukraine – which has so far seen Russian losses of more than 200,000 soldiers.

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"People who were drawn into the rebellion saw that the army and the people were not with them," Putin said in the televised address.

He added: "In the confrontation with rebels, our comrades-in-arms, pilots, were killed.

"They did not flinch and honourably fulfilled their orders and their military duty."

Vlad also insisted the rebellion did not impact his soldiers' "heroic fight" in Ukraine.

Putin's fierce tone since the attempted coup – which saw him yesterday accuse the rebels of wanting Russia to "drown in blood" – hasn't matched the apparent punishments for its leaders.

He appears to be desperately attempting to reclaim his strongman image – which has been shaken by the rebellion.

The heavily armed convoy abruptly turned around on Saturday as it drew just 120 miles from Moscow.

Prigozhin and Putin are said to have struck a "deal" to end the rebellion.

The terms are the agreement are still not entirely clear, but it appears to be seeing the resettling of Prigozhin and the Wagner Group in Belarus.

Wagner forces however appear to be still recruiting new fighters – and yesterday their head office said they were continuing in "normal mode".

Prigozhin and his men have been decried in the strongest possible words by the Kremlin – being branded traitors – but at this stage, it appears Russia is simply letting them go.

The warlord doubled down on his criticism again last night, insisting if he was in charge the invasion of Ukraine would have been completed in "one day" – rather than raging for 17 months.

His 11-minute audio message – which was seen as proof of life after he initially disappeared for nearly two days – also saw him again attempt to justify the rebellion.

He insisted he was not attempting to overthrow the government, but instead wanted to ensure the survival of the Wagner Group.

Putin in a pre-recorded video address just hours after Prigozhin's comments saw him vow to bring the Wagner rebels to "justice".

And yet today the FSB has confirmed they have dropped the treason charges against Prigozhin.

The rebellion has shone a light on Putin's fragility – with the largest challenge to his rule in 20 years and possibly Russia's biggest crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Western governments have been avoiding weighing in too deeply, but all seem to agree the mutiny has shown the weakness of Vlad's regime.

"Putin is destroying his own country," said German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock.

Experts and analysts have said Putin appears to be weaker than ever and the coup could just be the beginning of the challenges to his leadership – especially as the Ukraine war grinds on.

The Kremlin however hit back and rubbished the opinions of "pseudo specialists" as they tried to claim Putin was still in control of the volatile situation.

Asked if the Russian leader's position had been "shaken" by the dramatic events, Peskov said: "We do not agree.

"There is now a lot of ultra-emotional hysteria among specialists, pseudo-specialists, political scientists and pseudo-politicians.

"It is also rippling through some hysterical new media, and on the Internet and so on.

"It has nothing to do with reality."

Peskov said the Kremlin had no information on the whereabouts of Prigozhin.

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