Zelenskiy trolls Putin, dubs Wagner coup as Russia’s ‘obvious’ weakness

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, hinted at Russia’s “obvious weakness” over the weekend, after Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, rebelled and called for an armed uprising against the Russian military leadership.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that “Russia’s weakness is obvious” and that the longer Moscow keeps its troops and mercenaries in Ukraine, the more chaos it would invite back home.

Zelenskiy trolls Putin, dubs Wagner coup as Russia's 'obvious' weakness
Zelenskiy trolls Putin, dubs Wagner coup as Russia’s ‘obvious’ weakness

He made the comments on the Telegram messaging app amid an apparent mutiny on Saturday by Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin against the Russian military.

“Russia’s weakness is obvious. Full-scale weakness,” Zelenskiy wrote.

“And the longer Russia keeps its troops and mercenaries on our land, the more chaos, pain and problems it will have for itself later.”

Prior to the Ukrainian president’s statemen,¬†Prigozhin accused the Russian military of attacking a Wagner camp, causing significant loss of personnel.

He threatened to forcefully retaliate and destroy opposition if resistance was found.

However, he later retracted the threat, claiming his criticism was a “march of justice” rather than a coup. He claimed his fighters entered Russia’s Rostov region and shot down a helicopter targeting a civilian convoy.

Prigozhin, a former associate of Putin, has expanded his business to include the Wagner Group, a mercenary force aligned with the Kremlin.

Wagner fighters have been involved in conflicts across Africa and Ukraine, fighting alongside the Russian army. Prigozhin is now advocating for an armed uprising against Russia’s military leadership.

Analysts caution against overestimating his relationship with Putin and note that Prigozhin is more of a staff member than a confidant.

The Defense Ministry of Russia has denied allegations of an attack on Wagner forces, dismissing them as “informational propaganda.” The FSB has initiated a criminal case against Prigozhin for threats and inciting “armed rebellion.”

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, said Russian President Vladimir Putin is informed regarding the situation. According to Russian state media TASS, officials in Moscow have beefed up security measures. Meanwhile, social media posts depicted military vehicles patrolling major streets of the Russian capital in the wee hours of Saturday.

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