Vladimir Putin assures Asian allies that Russian people are ‘more united than ever’

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Asian leaders on Tuesday that the Russian people are more united than ever, the Kremlin leader’s first public international intervention since the Wagner mercenary uprising in June, DPA agency quoted Agerpres as saying.

Vladimir Putin in DagestanPhoto: Gavriil Grigorov / AP / Profimedia

“The Russian people are more united than ever,” Putin said during a video conference of the Shanghai Security Organization (SCO), which includes, among other countries, China and India.

“Political circles and the entire society in Russia clearly demonstrated their solidarity and sense of responsibility for the fate of the motherland when they responded as a united front against the armed uprising,” the Russian leader added.

Vladimir Putin’s speech and emphasis on Russian unity was a sign of how eager the Russian leader is to dispel doubts about his global authority after the June uprising led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner paramilitary group.

Wagner’s mercenary rebellion created an image problem for Putin

On June 24, Wagner fighters took control of the city of Rostov-on-Don and marched into Moscow, the most serious challenge to Vladimir Putin since he seized power in Russia in 1999.

The rebellion was quelled by a deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

In his speech, Vladimir Putin said Russia would resist Western sanctions and “provocations”. He said that Moscow wants to expand its relations with other countries of the OCS.

His comments came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced last Friday that Iran would join the SCO.

“At the next meeting of the Heads of State’s Committee (SCO) on July 4, Iran’s full membership will be formalized,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.

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