Putin pays tribute to Russian pilots killed fighting mutineers

putin-pays-tribute-to-russian-pilots-killed-fighting-mutineers
Putin pays tribute to Russian pilots killed fighting mutineers

Russian President Vladimir Putin paid tribute to the pilots who were killed during the aborted mutiny over the weekend. This was his first public comment since the armed revolt led by mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin. Putin confirmed reports on social media that Wagner forces had downed Russian aircraft in the fighting. Putin said that the rebellion threatened Russia’s very existence and those behind it would be punished. There has been no official information about how many pilots died or how many aircraft were shot down. Some Russian Telegram channels monitoring Russia’s military activity reported that 13 Russian pilots were killed during the day-long mutiny. Among the aircraft downed were three Mi-8 MTPR electronic warfare helicopters, and an Il-18 aircraft with its crew, Rybar reported. RushHourDaily could not independently verify the reports. It was also not clear in what circumstances the aircraft were shot down and pilots killed.

Putin said “steps were taken on my direct instruction to avoid serious bloodshed” during the insurrection, which ended abruptly with Wagner forces standing down and Prigozhin agreeing to go into exile in neighbouring Belarus. Putin thanked Wagner fighters and commanders who stood down to avoid what he called “fratricidal bloodshed”, and said the vast majority of Wagner’s members were patriots. He made no mention of Prigozhin. Putin met on Monday night with the heads of Russian security services, including Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, IFX reported, citing a Kremlin spokesperson. One of Prigozhin’s principal demands had been that Shoigu be sacked, along with Russia’s top general, who by Monday evening had not appeared in public since the mutiny.

Wagner leader Prigozhin also spoke in an 11-minute audio message posted on his press service’s Telegram channel, and gave few clues to his whereabouts or the deal under which he halted the move toward Moscow. He said his men had been forced to shoot down helicopters that attacked them as they drove nearly 800km (500 miles) from the south towards the capital, before abruptly calling off the uprising.

Numerous Western leaders saw the unrest as exposing Putin’s vulnerability following his decision to invade Ukraine 16 months ago. In comments before a speech at the White House, U.S. President Joe Biden called the mutiny “part of a struggle within the Russian system”. He discussed it in a conference call with key allies who agreed it was vital not to let Putin blame it on the West or NATO, he said. White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said U.S. policy did not seek to change the government in Russia.

Foreign governments, both friendly and hostile to Russia, were left groping for answers to what had happened behind the scenes and what could come next. “The political system is showing fragilities, and the military power is cracking,” European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters in Luxembourg. In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the military had made advances on Monday in all sectors of the front line, calling it a “happy day” in his nightly video address delivered from a train after visiting frontline positions. Kyiv hopes the chaos caused by the mutiny attempt in Russia will undermine its defences as Ukraine presses on with a counteroffensive to recapture occupied territory.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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