July 18, 2024

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The former Defence Secretary says Putin is solely responsible for the Wagner situation and has no one else to blame.

According to former U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, Russian President Vladimir Putin is solely responsible for the direct military challenge he faced from Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin. Prigozhin led his private mercenaries in an attempted rebellion against the Kremlin, which lasted less than 24 hours before a deal was brokered to avoid further conflict.

As part of the agreement, Prigozhin agreed to leave the country for Belarus. The rebellion was sparked by the Russian Ministry of Defence’s forced deal to have Prigozhin’s troops sign contracts with the government by a specific deadline.

While Putin addressed the nation on Monday, calling Prigozhin’s actions “treasonous,” he has maintained a relatively low profile during the turmoil. However, experts suggest that this recent conflict may pose a threat to Putin’s political stability.

Panetta argues that any leader, especially an autocrat like Putin, faces challenges when confronted with chaos and instability. Putin’s claim to power is based on his control over Russia, and the fact that he was unable to maintain control in this situation reveals a failure on his part.

Panetta further highlights that Putin is now facing the consequences of his own actions. Prigozhin, who previously had a close relationship with Putin, challenged him directly, and Putin failed to take significant action against him despite his repeated criticism of the Russian military’s performance in Ukraine. Prigozhin’s departure from Russia does not exempt him from investigation, and the future of the Wagner Group’s troops remains uncertain.

This situation underscores the potential repercussions for Putin’s leadership and political stability, as he is held accountable for the challenges he created through his association with Prigozhin and his failure to assert control in this instance.