Countries around the world were on Saturday closely watching events unfolding in Russia as Wagner rebels advanced towards Moscow in the most serious challenge yet to President Vladimir Putin's rule.

Here is what governments and analysts are saying about the extraordinary situation taking place in nuclear-armed Russia:

- Ukraine -

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Wagner mutiny showed Russia's "full-scale weakness."

"Russia's weakness is obvious. And the longer Russia keeps its troops and mercenaries on our land, the more chaos, pain, and problems it will have for itself later," he said in a statement on social media.

Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Malyar said the rebellion provided a "window of opportunity" for Kyiv on the battlefield.


- The United States -

US President Joe Biden was briefed on the situation in Russia and Washington and "will be consulting with allies and partners on these developments", National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge said.

- Europe -

European Union chief Charles Michel tweeted that the bloc was "closely monitoring the situation in Russia as it unfolds. In touch with European leaders and G7 partners."

"This is clearly an internal Russian issue," he wrote, adding that "our support for Ukraine" remains "unwavering".

The bloc's diplomatic chief Josep Borrell said the EU was in "permanent contact with our ambassador in Moscow and continuing our internal consultations with our member states."

OSCE Official Gets Jail Term for 'Spying' in Russian-Held Ukraine
Other Topics of Interest

OSCE Official Gets Jail Term for 'Spying' in Russian-Held Ukraine

OSCE condemned it as "a grave violation of participating states' commitments under international law" and called for the immediate release of Vadym Golda and two other jailed OSCE officials.

Borrel said foreign affairs ministers of the G7 nations held a call to "exchange views" on the situation.

NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said only the alliance was "monitoring the situation".

NATO member Lithuania's President Gitanas Nauseda said on Facebook that while the mutiny may offer respite to Ukraine, Russia's neighbours need to "prepare for the most unexpected scenarios."

Lithuania's Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis tweeted: "For 100 years Lithuanians have lived on the edge of Moscow’s brutal banditocracy, knowing it's only a matter of time before the next chaotic implosion."


He added that the "time is now" for "victory and justice for Ukraine".

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak urged "all parties to be responsible and to protect civilians."

Meanwhile, Czech politicians used the mutiny as a moment to take a stab at Russian leadership.

"I can see my summer holiday in Crimea is approaching," said Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, referring to the territory annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.

Czech Defence Minister Jana Cernochova said: "Russia is waging war on Russia. No surprise. It's a tradition over there. Failed wars end up with the Tsar being executed, with chaos and with a civil war supervised by snoopers. Congratulations."

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who has met Putin since the launch of the Ukraine war, warned of the nuclear risks of the instability in Russia.

He said events in Russia "are always of the utmost importance, because the Russian Federation has a great potential for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons," he said.

Leaders in Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Norway and Brussels all said they were keeping close watch on the situation in Russia.


In Rome, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's office said the events "show how the aggression against Ukraine is causing instability also within Russia."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered to help seek a "peaceful resolution" to the armed rebellion, in a phone call with Putin, his office said.

- Middle East -

Qatar's foreign ministry said it was following "with great concern" and warned the situation could "have negative repercussions on international peace and security, and on food and energy supplies."

A senior advisor to the president of the United Arab Emirates, Anwar Gargash, said: "In light of the serious developments taking place in Russia, the need for a political solution that addresses the Ukrainian crisis and its repercussions has become more urgent."

- Analysts -

The UK Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update that "this represents the most significant challenge to the Russian state in recent times."

"Over the coming hours, the loyalty of Russia's security forces, and especially the Russian National Guard, will be key to how the crisis plays out," it said in a tweet.

The US-based Institute for the Study of War said the armed rebellion was "unlikely to succeed" but that "an armed Wagner attack against the Russian military leadership in Rostov-on-Don would have significant impacts on Russia’s war effort in Ukraine."

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter