Former U.S. President Donald Trump expressed caution about the recent attempted coup in Russia by the Wagner Group, warning that a successor to President Vladimir Putin could be markedly more dangerous.
“A big mess in Russia, but be careful what you wish for. Next in may be far worse!” Trump wrote on Truth Social on Saturday, seemingly in reference to recently aborted attempt by Yevgeny Prigozhin and the private military force to overthrow Putin’s regime in Moscow.
The Russian government, facing this internal threat, had implemented stringent security measures throughout Moscow, including the deployment of private checkpoints and armored vehicles. This unexpected conflict displayed a striking indication of internal discord about Putin’s reign within Russia.
Yevgeny Prigozhin had publicly criticized the Russian military leadership for their handling of the war in Ukraine. In a bold declaration, Prigozhin emphasized that his group’s actions were not tantamount to a military coup, but rather, a “march of justice.”
In response, Putin denounced the military force’s actions as “treason,” ensuring severe repercussions for those implicated. “All those who prepared the rebellion will suffer inevitable punishment,” he said. “The armed forces and other government agencies have received the necessary orders.”
Nonetheless, Prigozhin later announced that the march towards Moscow had been suspended, and the troops would retreat to their field camps in Ukraine. The abrupt end to the march was reportedly the result of negotiations mediated by Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, although the specifics of the agreement were not disclosed.
Prigozhin justified this decision, stating that he opted to turn back when his forces were just 120 miles from Moscow to prevent “shedding Russian blood.” The Belarusian government confirmed the resolution of the situation and claimed that the agreement provided security guarantees for the Wagner fighters.