US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, like many other Western governments, had initially refrained from commenting on the Wagner mercenaries’ uprising. However, in a recent interview on US television, he stated that there are now cracks in Russia that did not exist before.
“Cracks breaking out that were not there before”
During his appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Blinken chose his words very carefully and stated, “You see cracks breaking out that were not there before. First of all, in the fact that [Yevgeny] Prigozhin very clearly questioned Russian aggression against Ukraine by saying that Ukraine and NATO do not pose a threat to Russia. This was a direct challenge to Putin himself.”
US government watching the situation in Moscow
The White House has not commented on the Wagner mercenaries’ revolt in Russia thus far, stating only that the US government is monitoring the situation in Moscow. Furthermore, Blinken avoided answering many questions about the situation in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“Internal affair of Russia”
Blinken added that US President Joe Biden had discussed the issue with his European partners. While he had not spoken directly with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, his staff at the State Department had been in contact with their Russian counterparts. Blinken also emphasized that it was an “internal affair” of Russia, thus causing the US to withhold public comments about Putin’s future.
US intelligence had predicted the uprising
US intelligence had reportedly received indications days before the Wagner mercenaries’ uprising that their leader, Prigozhin, was planning a military action against the Russian Defense Ministry.
“A gathering storm”
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Blinken referenced a “gathering storm” but refused to elaborate on what the US intelligence knew. However, he noted that tensions had been building up within the group for some time. Prigozhin had said some extraordinary things about Russian warfare and had attacked the country’s military leadership.
Long counter-offensive expected
Blinken refused to confirm if Ukraine would take advantage of this moment of Russian weakness and launch a counter-offensive, stating that it would take weeks or even months to accomplish. He explained that the Ukrainians would need to break through strong Russian defense walls: “Ultimately, it is about their country, their future, their freedom, not about Russia’s.”