Putin breaks silence after coup attempt as traitor Prigozhin 'STILL faces sedition charges' with Stalinist purge feared | The Sun

VLADIMIR Putin has appeared in a video address in his first official comments since the Wagner Group's attempted coup.

Seemingly pretending it was business as usual and all was well, he did not mention the extraordinary armed rebellion.

And it was unclear when the footage released by the Kremlin had been filmed and or if it was live.

Putin's last national address was on Saturday when he condemned the mutiny as a "stab in the back" and vowed to crush it.

He was featured on Sunday in a pre-recorded interview on State TV in which he said he was focused on the war in Ukraine.

The newly released video saw Vlad speak to a youth forum dubbed the "Engineers of the Future".


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Kremlin officials also insisted Putin was working today, speaking to the Iranian president on the phone and signing decrees on oil.

But he still has not been seen in public for more than 36 hours – with the same being true for Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Russia is dealing with the fallout of the rebellion, with speculation that Putin could launch Stalin-style purges to shore up his rule.

And it was revealed that the FSB is still investigating Prigozhin despite Russia insisting all charges had been dropped against him.

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Wagner boss Prigozhin tried to storm the capital, before abruptly calling off the attack after striking a deal with the Kremlin.

And meanwhile, Prigozhin's mercenaries shared a chilling "hush, hush" threat – potentially hinting at further action.

But the Wagner boss is still nowhere to be seen, with no indication he has even arrived in Belarus as per his secret deal.

Prigozhin's press team said in a statement that he cannot be reached at the moment – but insisted he will answer all questions when he gets in touch.

The statement said: "He says 'hi' to everyone and will answer questions when he will get in touch normally."

Russian outlets Meduza and RTVI both reported his whereabouts are currently "unknown".

Prigozhin's last message on social media was his instruction to his men to stand down to avoid bloodshed and end his fleeting rebellion.

His absence further fuels the intrigue around the bizarre 24 hours that saw Russia seemingly pushed to the brink of collapse.

And it was speculated Putin was hunkered down in his secret bunker as two of his presidential planes were seen airborne during the coup.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Britain was preparing for a "range of scenarios" about what could happen in Russia in the coming weeks.

"It's too early to predict with certainty what the consequences of this might be," he said.

Russian security forces had raided Wagner Group officers – seizing cash and fake passports used by Prigozhin.

And despite his "deal" state media reported the FSB is continuing to investigate him over the army mutiny – and that he could face up to 20 years in prison.

"The criminal case against Prigozhin has not been closed. The investigation is continuing," a prosecution source told TAAS.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken said Putin's regime now has "real cracks" as it was revealed US intelligence services knew about the coup plan weeks in advance.

Alicia Kearns MP, the chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, suggested Putin could launch a massive purge to secure power in the Kremlin.

"This is definitely not over," she told The Daily Mail.

"This is not just a power struggle between Putin and Prigozhin. It has raised questions about the wholescale stability of the country.

"'No one believes that Prigozhin is going to Belarus and live out his life quietly there. Putin… is mortally wounded but I don't think anyone can say Putin is finished.

"There is nothing more that Putin hates than a traitor."

Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a retired British army officer – who correctly predicted the Wagner rebellion, told The Sun: "The whole thing is strange."

He went on: "These are just gangsters, It is gangster warfare, but at the strategic level."

"Prigozhin would very much be a target for the Russian Secret police," the expert added.

"And, he probably shouldn’t go near any balconies, I wouldn't be surprised if they try and take him out. But, we saw how inept they were trying to assassinate, like in Salisbury."

Russia expert Kier Giles, from the Chatham House think tank, said the so-called deal between Russia and the Wagner boss "makes no sense."

He told The Sun Online: "You should be baffled. I cannot tell you what is going on, it makes no sense

"The deal made was not in either side's interest."

He added: "[Prigozhin] is not safe, the situation has been diffused and he took the exit route to Belarus, but he broke the rules and he knows the consequences."

Prigonzhin's rebellion was branded "very bizarre, very weird," by Ukrainian Defence Ministry spokesperson Yuriy Sak.

Prigozhin did not look anything like a man who had been defeated as he returned to his wannabe coup's base of operations in Rostov Saturday evening after ordering his men to stand down.

The blood-thirsty mercenary boss was ferried through the streets in the back of a 4×4 as he took selfies with locals.

Other residents posed for pictures with Wagner Group tanks emblazoned with red "Z" symbols as the military force loaded up – while some chanted "Wagner!"

Prigozhin staged the largest threat to Putin's rule in decades when he launched an open rebellion and sent his 25,000 men marching on Moscow.

A convoy of trucks and military gear got within 120 miles of the Kremlin – the biggest challenge in Putin's reign so far.

Priogzhin's rebellion started on Saturday morning after an arrest warrant was issued for the Wagner chief – a former close ally of Putin.

The billionaire – known as "Putin's chef" – had been involved in an increasingly bitter war of words with the Russian military over their lack of support for his mercenaries in Ukraine.

Wagner forces stormed across the border from Ukraine and seized to cities of Rostov and Voronezh – including the HQ of Russia's military operations.

His forces then headed north – shooting down six Russian military helicopters and a plane on the way as Vlad's forces hastily fortified Moscow.

And then as the convoy came within 120 miles of the capital – with Putin's regime looking like it had just hours left – they stopped.

Priogzhin then suddenly announced the rebellion was done via Telegram.

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Russia insisted they had dropped all criminal charges against Prigozhin – and he and his men were free to leave, so long as the warlord left for Belarus.

The exact details of the "deal" remain unclear – and observers have warned this crisis is far from over.

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