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James Cleverly Says "Cracks Are Emerging" In Russian Support For War

James Cleverly said the recent rebellion is an unprecedented challenge to President Putin's authority

2 min read

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has told the House of Commons that "cracks are emerging" for Russians' support for the war in Ukraine, after the Vladimir Putin was "exposed" by an attempted coup by paramilitary organisation Wagner.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the mercenary army Wagner, organised a rebellion against Putin after his soldiers seized two Russian cities. The group, which is independent from the state military in Russia's war in Ukraine, has played an instrumental role in the conflict by supplementing the country's armed forces.

Cleverly told MPs "the Russian government's lies have been exposed by one of President Putin's henchmen, the full story of this weekend's events and the long term effects will take some time to become clearer, and it is not helpful to speculate provocations.

"Rebellion is an unprecedented challenge to President Putin's authority and it is clear that cracks are emerging in the Russian support for the war."

Cleverly said the Government will not be "distracted" from supporting Ukrainians and their recovery after the war. 

He added that "everybody should note that one of Putin's protegees", Prigozhin, who has close links with the Kremin, has "publicly destroyed his case for the war in Ukraine provision set on Friday".

"Now that Russia's leadership cannot justify this war, even to each other, the only rightful course is for Putin to withdraw his troops and end this bloodshed."

For months tension has been brewing between Prigozhin and Russia's defence secretary, Sergei Shoigu, over their alleged failure to supply Wagner with sufficient military gear and equipment.

Prigozhin has reportedly been furious with Russia's bungled invasion of Ukraine and their lack of decisiveness to win the war. 

On Friday evening, Prigozhin claimed Putin's forces had launched an attack on his troops and announced a "march for justice". But within less than 48 hours Prigozhin stood his soldiers down when they were 120 miles from Moscow to avoid "shedding Russian blood". 

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