Turmoil in Russia: What foreign governments are saying | News

Governments around the world are closely watching the events rapidly unfolding in Russia, where a mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group has posed the most serious challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s long rule.

Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin on Saturday said his fighters had crossed from Ukraine into the Russian border city of Rostov-on-Don, taking control of military facilities in the city, including the airfield.

During an emergency televised address in Moscow, Putin promised to crush what he called an “armed mutiny” and an act of treason.

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


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Wagner mutiny showed Russia was weak.

“Russia’s weakness is obvious. Full-scale weakness. 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.

“Anyone who chooses the path of evil destroys themselves,” Zelenskyy also wrote on Twitter. “For a long time, Russia used propaganda to mask its weakness and the stupidity of its government. And now there is so much chaos that no lie can hide it.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged the international community to “abandon false neutrality” on Russia and provide Kyiv all the weapons it needs to push Moscow’s forces out of Ukrainian territory. “Those who said Russia was too strong to lose: look now,” he posted on Twitter.

Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said, “the next 48 hours will define the new status of Russia”.

“Either a full-fledged civil war, or a negotiated transit of power, or a temporary respite before the next phase of the downfall of the Putin regime,” he wrote on Twitter.


President Andrzej Duda said: “In connection with the situation in Russia, this morning we held consultations with the prime minister and the ministry of defence, as well as with allies.

“The course of events beyond our eastern border is monitored on an ongoing basis.”


Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that “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. We are not distracted. We see clearly in the chaos. The goal, as ever, is victory and justice for Ukraine. The time is now.”


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

“We’re in touch with our allies as the situation evolves. I’ll be speaking to some of them later today and the most important thing is for all parties to behave responsibly,” he told the BBC.

The country’s defence ministry said that “over the coming hours, the loyalty of Russia’s security forces, and especially the Russian National Guard, will be key to how this crisis plays out.”

“This represents the most significant challenge to the Russian state in recent times,” it said.

It added that Wagner troops had “almost certainly” occupied key security sites in Rostov-on-Don and that “further Wagner units were moving north through Voronezh Oblast, almost certainly aiming to get to Moscow”.

“With very limited evidence of fighting between Wagner and Russian security forces, some have likely remained passive, acquiescing to Wagner,” it said.


European Council 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 tweeted, adding that “our support for Ukraine” is “unwavering”.

United States

United States 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.


“Estonia is closely following the development of the situation in Russia and exchanging information with allies. I can assure that there is no direct threat to our country. Border security has been strengthened. I also urge our people not to travel to any part of Russia,” said Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.


German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock spoke to her counterparts within the Group of Seven industrialised nations, the foreign ministry in Berlin said.

“Baerbock has just discussed the situation with the foreign ministers of the G7,” a ministry spokesperson said , adding that the German government’s crisis team was also meeting.

The foreign minister earlier said Germany was monitoring developments very closely and is in close contact with its international partners. “German nationals in Russia should definitely take advantage of our adapted travel advice,” she said after the ministry told travellers to avoid Moscow city centre.


French President Emmanuel Macron “is following the situation very closely,” the Elysee said. “We remain focused on supporting Ukraine.”


Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said the events taking place in Russia showed “how the aggression against Ukraine is causing instability also within Russia”, her office said in a statement.

Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said that for the moment there was no concern for Italians living in Russia, but said they were “advised to be cautious”.

Czech Republic

“With regard to the ongoing military invasion of Ukraine and the possible threat of erosion of the security situation in the country, especially for citizens of EU and NATO countries, our strong warning against travel to the Russian Federation is still in place,” news agency CTK quoted Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky as saying.


Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev spoke to Putin by phone, Tokayev’s office said, and described the events in Russia as its internal affair while saying rule of law was necessary to maintain order.

Putin briefed Tokayev on the situation, the Kazakh president’s office said, and thanked him for the understanding Kazakhstan has expressed.

Russian state news agency TASS said Putin had also spoken to the leaders of Belarus and Uzbekistan.


Qatar expressed its concern over the situation in Russia and called for “maximum restraint” from all parties.

“The foreign ministry warns that escalation in Russia and Ukraine will have negative consequences for international peace and security and will impact food and energy supplies,” it said in a statement.

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