House Intelligence chair Rep. Mike Turner says Wagner rebellion “really does hurt Putin” - The World News

House Intelligence chair Rep. Mike Turner says Wagner rebellion “really does hurt Putin”

Washington — House Intelligence chair Rep. Mike Turner said Sunday that the Wagner mercenary group’s armed rebellion against the Russian military makes President Vladimir Putin look weak and could have ramifications for the war in Ukraine

“This really does hurt Putin, and not only just politically and in his leadership in Russia and his presidency, but in his efforts to continue the war in Ukraine,” the Ohio Republican told “Face the Nation” on Sunday. 

Turner said the conflict between Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and Putin was “inevitable” given Prigozhin has been publicly critical of the Russian government and Putin for months. 

“Putin has allowed this,” Turner said, noting that Prigozhin has criticized “Putin’s very premise of the war — that is was not started by NATO, that there were not Nazis in Ukraine.” 

Rep. Mike Turner on “Face the Nation,” June 25, 2023

CBS News

“Taking their convoy to Moscow, that really shows to the basic issue of whether or not Putin controls his military. For any government to have stability, they have to control their military,” Turner said. “That’s going to be an issue that Putin is going to have to deal with both internationally and domestically. His government as an authoritarian government depends on its assertion of power, force in order to be able to continue to wield power.” 

Prigozhin called for an armed rebellion aimed at ousting Russia’s military leaders last week, accusing them of botching the war in Ukraine, and also criticized Putin. Wagner fighters appeared to seize control of the Russian military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, which oversees fighting in Ukraine, and were advancing toward Moscow until they were ordered back to their field camps when a truce was announced between Putin and Prigozhin. 

The truce followed Putin calling the uprising “treason” and said those who led it would “suffer inevitable punishment.” 

According to a Kremlin spokesman, charges against Prigozhin will be dropped and the Wagner chief will move to Belarus. 

“Putin himself went on national TV to respond to Prigozhin,” Turner said. “And Prigozhin said that, ‘Your government has lied to you. This is not a war that NATO started. There are no Nazis in Ukraine.’ Taking down the very premise makes it much more difficult for Putin to continue to turn to the Russian people and say, ‘We should continue to send people to die in this war.'” 

Turner said that Chinese President Xi Jinping “has got to be very concerned right now” after he made a high-profile visit to Moscow in March in a display of unity against the U.S.-led West. 

“Now he’s standing next to a guy who can’t even control his his own his own military,” Turner said. “Xi in seeing that with Putin has got to understand that Putin’s stature in the world has diminished. That diminishes President Xi. And certainly as Putin looks weakened, certainly not being able to control his military and being a strong nuclear power, President Xi has to be worried about the stability of Russia itself.” 

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