Russia in Review, June 23-30, 2023

One Thing to Know

Russian intelligence services may have known in advance of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s plan to stage a mutiny, but it nonetheless materialized to pose the greatest military and security threat to Vladimir Putin’s rule since the end of the second Chechen war. The mutiny itself lasted only 36 hours, never spread to Moscow and ended with its chief mastermind expelled to Belarus, and some of his purported allies under interrogation. But it will probably take Putin and his team a long time to rebuild his image as the strongman in full control of Russia (that is, if he can fully succeed in doing so at all). For our preliminary reconstruction of how the events unfolded, see the first section of this digest below. To develop an initial understanding of why the events unfolded the way they did and what may come next, see our compilation of hot — but sensible — takes on the mutiny in our latest analytical digest as well as in these analyses.


I. Special Coverage: A timeline of Prigozhin’s mutiny

June 1.

  • PMC Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and a portion of his Wagner forces began moving away from the combat line in Bakhmut. The remaining personnel were to follow on June 5, Prigozhin said. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.01.2023)
  • Prigozhin stated that high-rank Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) officials should face capital punishment for mistakes made during the war. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.01.2023)
  • Pro-war Russian Telegram channel “Dva Mayora” released  PMC Wagner military leader Dmitry Utkin’s commentary agreeing with Prigozhin’s push for capital punishment for the “embarrassment” caused by Russia’s top brass. Utkin also claimed Wagner solved its problems in line with Russian law. (Dva Mayora/Telegram, 06.01.2023)

June 2.

  • Prigozhin claimed the MoD mined Wagner’s path to the rear areas of the frontline. These accusations were widely shared across Russian social media platforms. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.02.2023)

June 3.

  • Prigozhin claimed to have settled the conflict with Delimkhanov, and doubled down on criticizing the MoD and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu — complaining of shell shortages, territorial losses, inactivity and chaos. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.03.2023)
  • After claiming Wagner troops protect the MoD’s interests, Prigozhin said the ministry leadership’s actions and lack of accountability were “criminal.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.03.2023)
  • Prigozhin called for the punishment of people “responsible for giving away” Russian territory. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.03.2023) 
  • Prigozhin called out the MoD’s Chief of General Staff Gerasimov and General Alexandre Lapin for “concealing” the number of victims and lying to the Russian people. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.03.2023)

June 4.

  • Prigozhin’s press team released a video purporting to show a captured Russian lieutenant colonel admitting to having fired at Wagner forces. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.04.2023)  

June 5.

  • Prigozhin called for Shoigu and Gerasimov to go to the frontline and lead the troops themselves. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.05.2023)  

June 6.

  • Prigozhin again accused the MoD of mining Wagner’s path to the rear of the front. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.06.2023)

June 7.

  • Telegram channel “Dva Mayora” argued that Prigozhin is more approachable and relateable than the MoD because his speech is “unbureaucratic.” (Dva Mayora/Telegram, 06.07.2023)

June 9.

  • Prigozhin claimed to have no political ambitions in Russia, but said rather, his ambitions were to see the country as a world superpower. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.09.2023)
  • Prigozhin called “bureaucrats” a unified “clan” that “seeks to destroy our homeland.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.09.2023) This time he goes beyond the usual MoD officials, calling out Russian oligarchs and decision-makers.*

June 11.

  • Shoigu signed an order requiring volunteer battalions and mercenary companies to sign contracts with the MoD by July 1. (Novaya Gazeta Europe, 06.11.2023)  
  • Prigozhin rejected the order, claiming Wagner would not follow Shoigu’s orders, but saying his forces would continue to act in the interests of Russia and the commander-in-chief. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.11.2023)
  • Prigozhin shared Wagner commanders’ opinions about incorporating the PMC into the MoD calling Shoigu a liar and referring to his alleged incompetence. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.11.2023)

June 13.

  • Prigozhin accused MoD of envy of Wagner’s successes and personally called out Shoigu for his “inability to handle people who do things better than him.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.13.2023)
  • Putin publicly supported MoD’s decision to force volunteer battalions and mercenary companies to sign contracts with the ministry. (TASS, 06.13.2023).  
  • Prigozhin stated that “a war with an adversary is not as frightening as a war with traitors,” referring to “bureaucrats.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.13.2023)

June 14.

  • Prigozhin stated that he hoped for a compromise that would not require the signing of contracts and referred to the MoD as an “important state body,” but said “if a group of individuals paralyzes it, it does not mean we have to take part.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.14.2023)

June 16.

  • A Wagner-affiliated telegram channel posted a video purporting to show Prigozhin attempting to deliver documents alleged to have been signed MoD contracts with no success. (ISW, 06.16.2023)
  • Prigozhin called the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum a “feast in a time of plague.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.16.2023)  

June 21.

  • Prigozhin called out the MoD for “concealing Ukrainian successes” and accused the top brass of “direct treason.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.20.2023)
  • American intelligence officials briefed senior military and administration officials on the Wagner Group’s preparations to take military action against senior Russian defense officials. U.S. Intelligence agencies kept silent about Prigozhin’s plans because U.S. officials felt that if they said anything, Putin could accuse them of orchestrating a coup. (NYT, 06.24.23)

June 22.

  • Prigozhin argued that the Russian president was being lied to about developments in the war. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.22.2023)
  • Prigozhin stated that the MoD was not interested in winning the war — only in retaining their ranks. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.22.2023)
  • Prigozhin called for “returning justice to the people.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.22.2023)

June 23.

  • Prigozhin claimed that a “missile attack was carried out on the camps” of PMC Wagner, killing “many.” He said: “According to eyewitnesses, the strike was launched from the rear, that is, it was carried out by the military servicemen of the RF MoD.” Notably, he did not provide any evidence in an audio statement published by the Kepka Prigozhina Telegram channel. Following the alleged strikes, Prigozhin issued an audio statement saying that this company’s Council of Commanders “had adopted a decision: the evi that the military leadership of the country is causing, must be stopped,” according to the Kepka Prigozhina channel. “We will restore it [justice]… those who have eliminated many tens of thousands of Russian soldiers will be punished,” he said, claiming 25,000 Wagner fighters will be “going” with him to attain justice.  “I ask that no one offers resistance… those who try to offer this resistance – we will eliminate them immediately.” Prigozhin also accused Shoigu of “cowardly fleeing” the city of Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia, so he doesn’t have to explain why he had allegedly ordered the strikes, and said that “this creature must be stopped.” (RM, 06.23.23)
    • The Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement in which it called Prigozhin's statement about the " strike by the Russian military" on the Wagner PMC camps an "information provocation.” (Meduza, 06.23.23)
    • Russian pro-war Telegram channel Rybar, which is run by a former employee of the Russian MoD’s press service, reported that its staff had examined a video of the alleged strike that concluded that it had been staged. (RM, 06.23.23)
  • Prigozhin stated that Shoigu had fled Rostov-on-Don, and called him a “woman” and a “creature.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.23.2023)
  • Prigozhin denied allegations of a military coup, referring to the uprising instead as a “march for justice.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.23.2023)
  • Prigozhin stated that most of the Russian military supported Wagner, and accused Shoigu of having ordered the concealment of 2,000 bodies of Russian soldiers in Rostov-on-Don. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.23.2023)
  • Wagner convoys reached Rostov-on-Don in tanks and armored cars, claiming control of the military headquarters in the southern city. (MT/AFP, 06.25.23)
  • U.S. National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge said the White House was monitoring the situation. (AFP/Barrons, 06.24.23)

June 24.

  • Prigozhin claimed the MoD used rockets to attack Wagner’s positions following orders from Gerasimov and Shoigu. He announced his forces had entered Russian territory and would destroy everyone who resisted, and that they would endure “until the end.” (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.2023)
  • The MoD released a video of Surovikin, Prigozhin’s primary contact in the ministry, calling on the Wagner forces to stop, obey the orders of the president and seek a peaceful resolution. (Russian Ministry of Defense/Telegram, 06.24.2023)
  • Prigozhin claimed Gerasimov had ordered a strike on the Wanger forces’ columns despite their physical proximity to the civilian population, and claimed Russian military pilots had refused to follow the orders. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.2023)
  • Prigozhin refuted accusations that he was undermining Russia’s war efforts and again called the MoD leadership criminals. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.2023)
  • Prigozhin claimed Wagner forces shot down a Russian MoD attack helicopter. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.2023)
  • Prigozhin claimed Wagner forces shot down another helicopter, claiming he had 25,000 troops under his command were prepared to die, and that Wagner would not be destroyed. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.2023) Prigozhin’s estimate of the number of Wagner fighters that accompanied in his “march of justice” appears to have been inflated.
  • Prigozhin claimed that half of the Russian army was ready to join them. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.2023)
  • Prigozhin released a video claiming to have captured military faclities in Rostov-on-Don,, in cluding the headquarters ofg the Southern Military District, and claimed that Gerasimov had fled the city. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.2023, NYT, 06.24.2023)
  • Putin addressed the nation calling the armed rebellion “a betrayal of our people.” (NYT, 06.24.2023)
  • Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on Saturday his forces were ready to help put down a mutiny by Wagner mercenary chief Prigozhin and to use harsh methods if necessary, and began their advance toward the city of Rostov-on-Don. (Reuters, 06.24.23, RM, 06.30.23)
  • The Russian MoD called on Wagner forces to halt their advance in exchange for security guarantees. (Russian Ministry of Defense/Telegram, 06.24.2023)
  • The U.S. ambassador directly contacted Russia "to reiterate what we said publicly — that this is an internal Russian affair in which the United States is not involved and will not be involved," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters. Ambassador Lynne Tracy in Moscow relayed the message to Russian officials on Saturday, as did U.S. officials in Washington who contacted the Russian embassy. (MT/AFP, 06.26.23).
    • Lavrov said the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, had spoken with Russian government representatives on June 25 and conveyed Washington's view that the events were Russia's internal affair and its hope that Russian nuclear weapons remained secure. US. officials had their eyes on the stockpile in the weeks running up to and during the insurrection.  (WP, 06.26.23, FP, 06.30.23)
  • Until June 24, Prigozhin focused his diatribes on Russia’s military leadership, avoiding direct attacks on Putin. But, responding to the Russian president, he said that Wagner’s men are not traitors but real patriots of Russia. Putin, Prigozhin added, is “profoundly mistaken,” and said Wagner wouldn’t follow his orders. (WSJ, 06.24.23)
  • Prigozhin claimed not to have killed anyone on their way to Rostov-on-Don and said local residents supported Wagner forces. (Prigozhin’s press service/Telegram, 06.24.2023)
  • Russian-language news outlet Vyorstka reported that PMC Wagner had driven past the city of Lipetsk (about 420 km south of Moscow) and reached Yelets and Yefremov (about 360 km south of Moscow). According to pro-war Russian telegram channel “Rybar,” which is run by an ex-MOD spokesman, however, there are “rumors” that PMC Wagner convoys had reached Serpukhov (about 100 km south of Moscow[1]) and Kolomna (about 120 km southeast of Moscow). (RM, 06.24.23)
    • Prigozhin’s Wagner forces were seen in the town of Elets, about 250 miles from the capital, according to video posted to social media on Saturday and verified by The New York Times. (NYT, 06.24.23)
    •  Wagner’s reconnaissance teams apparently reached the Moscow region town of Kashira, which is located 55 miles south of Moscow[2],  on June 24, multiple reports appeared of units of the National Guard, the Defense Ministry and other troops deploying along the northern bank of the Oka river. (RM, 06.29.23)
  • Russian intelligence agencies made threats to harm the families of Wagner mercenary group leaders as the group marched on Moscow, Britain’s The Telegraph daily reported Monday, citing anonymous U.K. security sources. (MT/AFP, 06.26.23)
  • Pro-war Russian Telegram channel, Voyenkor Kotyonok Z, posted on June 25 a video of what it claimed was Russian warplane dropping FAB bombs on a highway, along which Wagner vehicles was driving with civilian cars. (RM. 06.25.23)
  • The former defense minister of so-called Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine, Igor Strelkov, put the number of helicopters and planes shot down by Wagner at six and one respectively. (RM, 06.24.23)
    • These included, according to FighterBomber Telegram channel, which is reportedly run by a Russian air force officer, four Mi-8s, one Ka-52, and one Mi-35 (all helicopters) and an Il-18 plane. Voyenkor Kotyonok Z’s Telegram channel published images of what it said was a Russian MoD Ka-52 gunship shot down by PMC Wagner. The crew died, according to this channel. (RM, 06.24.23)
  • A message re-posted by Igor Strelkov claimed that it was Utkin who headed the convoy advancing toward Moscow. No evidence was given, but multiple other reports made the same claim (RM. 06.25.23)
  • Putin said in a televised address: “any internal revolt is a deadly threat to our statehood and our nation. It is a blow to Russia, to our people. Our actions to defend the Fatherland from this threat will be harsh. All those who have consciously chosen the path of betrayal, planned an armed mutiny and taken the path of blackmail and terrorism, will inevitably be punished and will answer before the law and our people.” (, 06.24.23)
  • Russia’s foreign ministry warned Western countries not to seek to exploit the uprising by the Wagner mercenary group “to achieve their Russophobic goals.” (FT, 06.24.23)
  • Kadyrov called Prigozhin’s actions a “vile betrayal,” writing via Telegram: “What is happening here is not an ultimatum to [the MoD]. It is a challenge to the state, and we should all rally around the national leader against this challenge.” (FT, 06.24.23)
  • Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, said Prigozhin’s uprising was “the most horrible crime” and urged citizens to rally around the president. (FT, 06.24.23)
  • Before Prigozhin stood down, U.S. officials reached out to Ukrainian officials on several different levels, cautioning them to resist taking advantage of the chaos to strike inside Russia, according to a Western official. The concern was that Ukraine and the West would be seen as helping Prigozhin and threatening Russian sovereignty. (CNN, 06.26.23)
    • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. was coordinating closely with its partners as the events in Russia unfolded. (FT, 06.24.23)
    • U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his staff were monitoring the crisis in Russia and would continue to be briefed on any significant developments, a Pentagon spokesman said. (WP, 06.24.23)
  • Zelensky said that “Russia’s weakness is obvious” and portrayed the uprising against Moscow as an example of divine justice. (NYT, 06.24.23).
  • In Kyiv, the crisis was seen a “window of opportunity” for its forces to push ahead with a counter-offensive to liberate territory occupied by Russian troops, said Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister. She added that the decision to invade Ukraine had triggered “the inevitable degradation of the Russian state.” (FT, 06.24.23)
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, president of Turkey, spoke with Putin. He stressed the importance of acting “rationally and sensibly” and said, “nobody should take advantage of the events in Russia,” according to the Turkish government. Erdogan told his Russian counterpart Putin that Turkey stands ready to “do its part for the swift and peaceful resolution” while urging the leader to act with common sense.  (FT, 06.24.23).
  • Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko proposed leading negotiations with Wagner, which Putin accepted, according to Lavrov. (FT, 06.26.23) 
    • Lukashenko said Putin initiated a call with him and that in the course of that call, Lukashenko realized the Russian leader had decided to “whack” Wagner, but he sought to convince him to put the implementation of that decision on hold. With Putin’s and the FSB’s help, Lukashenko then got in touch with Prigozhin by phone, telling the mercenary leader “nobody was going to give Shoigu and Gerasimov up to you” and that Putin was not going to meet him.  Eventually, in subsequent phone conversations with Lukashenko, Prigozhin dropped the demands to have Shoigu and Gerasimov fired and to meet Putin and agreed to relocate to Belarus, according to Lukashenko’s account, as reported by a KP reporter. (RM, 06.27.23)
  • A Telegram channel associated with Prigozhin posted a statement attributed to him in which he said PMC Wagner forces were turning back. Multiple media outlets report that in his talks with Lukashenko, Prigozhin "accepted" Lukashenko's offer to stop PMC Wagner's march and take steps to de-escalate. Kommersant reported, citing Lukashenko's press service, that an "absolutely advantageous and acceptable option for solving the situation, with security guarantees for the Wagner PMC fighters" had been prepared. (RM, 06.24.23)
    • “We are turning our columns around and going back to field camps," Prigozhin said in an audio post on Telegram on June 24, adding that he did not want to "spill Russian blood." Prigozhin said his troops (RFE/RL, 06.24.23)
  •  “Dva Mayora” speculated that Prigozhin had agreed to de-escalate only after receiving “guarantees” that Shoigu and Gerasimov would be removed from their posts. (RM, 06.24.23)

June 25.

  • Zelensky told Biden in a phone call: “Yesterday’s events exposed the weakness of Putin’s regime.” U.S. and Ukrainian officials on June 25 said Zelenskiy and Biden also spoke about Kyiv’s current counteroffensive against Russian forces and “coordinated their positions” ahead of the July 11-12 NATO summit in Lithuania. (RFE/RL, 06.24.23)
    • On June 25 Chechen special forces started their withdrawal from Rostov towards the Ukrainian frontline. These fighters did not reach the city center of Rostov-on-Don, where the Wagner forces were located, and had not engaged in any hostilities with the other militia. Kadyrov assessed their actions as “extremely efficient and well thought out.” (FT, 06.25.23)
  • The leaders of the U.S., France, Germany and the UK spoke about the events in Russia, according to the White House. Meanwhile, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Gen Mark Milley, cancelled a planned trip to Israel and Jordan to stay in Washington and monitor the events in Russia, a U.S. official said  (FT, 06.25.23)
  • Blinken said Washington was prepared for “every contingency,” but added: “We haven’t seen any change in Russia’s nuclear posture. There hasn’t been any change in ours. But it’s something we are going to watch very, very carefully.” (FT, 06.25.23)
  • Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani said that Prizoghin’s aborted insurrection on Saturday had “ended the myth of the unity of Putin’s Russia” and would weaken Moscow’s war effort in Ukraine. “I hope that peace will be closer.” (FT, 06.25.23)
  • China’s foreign minister Qin Gang met Russian deputy foreign minister Andrei Rudenko on Sunday. Chinese state media reports did not mention the rebellion and China had made no official statement on the events. China’s state media has downplayed the drama. China’s foreign ministry said the country supported Russia’s actions to maintain national stability (FT, 06.25.23, Bloomberg, 06.25.23)
  • North Korea offered its full support for Russia in dealing with a recent mutiny, state media reported on June 25. At a meeting with the Russian ambassador to Pyongyang Alexander Matsegora, North Korea's vice foreign minister Im Chon Il "expressed firm belief that the recent armed rebellion in Russia would be successfully put down.”(MT/AFP, 06.25.23)

June 26.

  • Prigozhin said his march had exposed "very serious security problems" in Russia, while insisting he did not want to overthrow Putin. Prigozhin’s press service issued a statement, saying: “We have given a master class of what February 24, 2022, could have looked like. We did not have the goal of overthrowing the existing regime or of the legally elected government. We turned around so as not to shed blood.” (MT/AFP, 06.26.23, Prigozhin’s press service/Meduza, 06.26.23)
  • Wagner will continue operations in Mali and the Central African Republic despite its leader's aborted insurrection over the weekend, Russia's foreign minister said on Monday. Wagner members "are working there as instructors. This work, of course, will continue," Sergei Lavrov said (MT/AFP, 06.26.23)
  • Wagner headquarters said on Monday it was working in "normal mode." (RFE/RL, 06.26.23)
  • Putin held phone calls with the leaders of Iran and Qatar. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi gave "his full support" to Putin during a telephone call. (RFE/RL, 06.26.23)  
  • Russia’s Vyorstka news outlet reported, citing Belarussian law-enforces, that an 8,000-bed camp was being constructed in Belarus’ Mogilev region for PMC Wagner fighters who’d choose to relocate to Belarus instead of signing up with Russian MoD. On June 27, a Mogilev Telegram channel cited Wagner fighters as saying that some of them were going to have a camp set up for them in Grodno region. (RM, 06.30.23)
  • Shoigu on Monday made his first public appearance following the revolt. Footage shared by the Russian MoD showed Shoigu in uniform on board a helicopter, followed by him entering a military command post where he could be seen chairing a meeting and inspecting maps. The date and exact location of the visit were not specified. (MT/AFP, 06.26.23)
  • Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin called for moves to strengthen Russian unity in the wake of the crisis, but he insisted that the Russian government worked "smoothly and clearly" during the crisis. (WP, 06.26.23)
  • Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, described Prigozhin as “the monster acting against his creator” and said the weekend’s chaos proved that Putin’s “military power is cracking.”  Borrell, says the bloc has activated its crisis center over the turmoil in Russia. (FT, 06.26.23, RFE/RL, 06.24.23)
  • Germany’s foreign minister said the turmoil in Russia over the weekend revealed “massive cracks” in the Russian narrative of the war in Ukraine. (FT, 06.26.23)
  • Ben Wallace, UK defense secretary, played down the impact on Putin’s authority, maintaining that “we shouldn’t necessarily over-credit the destabilization, that somehow this is a massive derailment of the Kremlin.” (FT, 06.26.23)

June 27.

  • Prigozhin has arrived in Belarus. Lukashenko said that his country’s military would benefit from learning from battle-hardened Wagner personnel that is relocating to this country, according to a KP reporter. (FT, RM, 06.27.23)
  • Lukashenko rejected what he described as allegations that Wagner would be guarding Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus. He said Russian and Belarussian regular units are guarding the weaponry and that Belarussian specialists are helping Russian specialists to maintain the weapons. (RM, 06.27.23)
  • Lukashenko added that he agreed with Belarusian Defense Minister Viktar Khrenin, who had expressed interest in having Wagner mercenaries integrated among his forces. (RFE/RL, 06.27.23)
  • The Russian MoD said that Wagner was preparing to hand over weaponry to the army. (FT, 06.27.23)
  • FSB dropped charges over Wagner’s insurrection after the Kremlin struck a deal with Prigozhin. (FT, 06.27.23)
  • In a speech gave to MoD personnel in Moscow, Putin gave no explanation for why he allowed Prigozhin, a former protege whose rebellion he blamed for the deaths of troops who tried to stop it, to leave without punishment. Instead, he said that his government had paid Wagner more than $3 billion over the last year and wasn’t sure how all the money had been spent. (Bloomberg, 06.28.23)
    • Between May 2022 and May 2023 alone, the Wagner Group received 86,262 million rubles from the state to pay military salaries and bonuses, including 70,384 million rubles for payroll and 15,877 million rubles for paying out bonuses, Putin told MoD personnel on June 27. While the state covered all the Wagner Group’s funding needs, the company’s owner, Concord, received from the state, or should I say earned, 80 billion rubles through Voentorg as the army’s food and canteen provider, Putin said.  (, 06.27.23)
  • Putin said Russia’s security forces “essentially stopped a civil war” during Prigozhin’s uprising, which risked creating “chaos.”  Putin condemned the organizers of the mutiny, saying they had betrayed their country and the fighters in their command. Putin then told Wagner paramilitaries to sign contracts with Russia’s MoD, go home or leave the country for Belarus.  . In his appeal to Wagner’s rank-and-file, Putin said the mutiny’s organizers had “betrayed the country and those who were with them,” adding that most of the group’s fighters were “patriots of Russia” who had been “used” by their command. (FT, 06.27.23, (FT, 06.27.23)
  • Putin suggested Ukraine was involved in Prigozhin’s short-lived rebellion. “This fratricide is the result of Russia’s enemies and the neo-Nazis in Kyiv, their western masters, and all sorts of national traitors wanted,” Russia’s president said in a five-minute televised address, his first comments since the end of the uprising. (FT, 06.27.23)
  • Commander of Russia’s National Guard Viktor Zolotov alleged that the mutiny “was prepared, inspired “by Western secret services, but provided no evidence to back his allegation. Zolotov, head of the national guard, said he had discussed giving his units heavy weaponry with the Russian president. (FT, 06.27.23)(RM, 06.27.23)
  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that the challenge to Putin from the Wagner mercenary group over the weekend showed that he has become “isolated” and “slow to make decisions.” (Bloomberg, 06.27.23)
  • Surovikin had advance knowledge of Prigozhin’s plans to rebel against Russia’s military leadership, according to U.S. officials briefed on American intelligence on the matter, which has prompted questions about what support the mercenary leader had inside the top ranks. (NYT, 6.27.23)

June 28.

  • Wagner troops were still inside Ukraine after the weekend mutiny, according to the U.S. Defense Department. (CNN, 06.28.23)
  • Satellite images purporting to show the construction of a camp for exiled Wagner mercenaries after their failed revolt were shared online late Tuesday by independent Belarusian media. Satellite images dated June 27 show what appears to be construction underway at a military compound near the town of Asipovichy, some 100 kilometers southeast of Minsk. (MT/AFP, 06.28.23, Reuters, 06.28.23)
  • Prigozhin planned to capture Russia’s military leadership as part of last weekend’s mutiny, Western officials said, and he accelerated his plans after the country’s domestic intelligence agency became aware of the plot. (WSJ, 06.28.23
  • Zolotov said authorities knew about Prigozhin’s intentions before he launched his attempt “Specific leaks about preparations for a rebellion that would begin between June 22-25 were leaked from Prigozhin’s camp,” Zolotov told state media on Tuesday. (WSJ, 06.28.23)
  • A banana republic was the phrase one former Russian senior official who still maintains close government ties used to describe the spectacle of Prigozhin’s mutiny. (Bloomberg, 06.28.23)
  • Russia's deputy foreign minister flew to Damascus to personally deliver a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: Wagner Group forces would no longer operate there independently. (WSJ, 06.28.23)
  • The Russian state played no role in Wagner’s multimillion-dollar business interests in Africa, the Kremlin said. Wagner “had an independent business there [in Africa] and the state had nothing to do with this business,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters. (MT/AFP, 06.28.23)
  • Putin is losing the war in Ukraine and has become "a bit of a pariah around the world," President Biden said. Biden said it is "hard to tell" how much Putin has been weakened by Yevgeny Prigozhin's ambitious but ill-fated coup attempt. (USA Today, 06.28.23)
  • Asked about the Russian revolt and what the U.S. knew. Biden responded, “We knew things ahead of time,” but said he couldn’t say what.  (AP, 06.30.23)

June 29.

  • Surovikin had not been heard from for several days and has been detained, according to sources in Russia’s elite and western government officials familiar with the matter. (FT, 06.29.23)
    • Veteran Russian journalist Alexei Venediktov said on Wednesday that Surovikin “has not been in touch with his family for three days. His security guards do not answer either.” People familiar with the matter said Surovikin, like many in Russia’s security establishment, knew about Prigozhin’s plans but said he had not been among the plotters. (FT, 06.29.23)
    • Investigators have questioned Surovikin about the failed mutiny that presented the greatest challenge to Putin’s quarter-century rule. (Bloomberg, 06.29.23)
    • While Putin has dropped charges against Wagner, Russia’s security forces “have started shaking down sympathizers and those who violated their oath,” said a person who has known Prigozhin since the 1990s. Surovikin and other Wagner-friendly generals, such as Mikhail Mizintsev, “were running around like idiots trying to convince [Prigozhin] to stop. Now they’re being treated like they could be traitors,” the person added. (FT, 06.29.23)
  • Several pro-war Russian blogs reported that the authorities were investigating military service members with ties to Prigozhin, but those reports could not be independently confirmed. Putin fed speculation about a broader crackdown on Tuesday evening in a closed-door meeting with Russian media figures at the Kremlin. (NYT, 06.29.23)
  • Putin sought to show he was going back to business as usual. He flew to the southern Russian region of Dagestan to discuss domestic tourism, praising the expansion of the local brandy industry. State media released video of Putin striding onto a city square and being greeted by a crowd of people -- an image that appeared designed to show that the president retained public support. Putin said he did not doubt the support of Russian citizens during the rebellion by the Wagner mercenary group. "I did not doubt the reaction in Dagestan and in all of the country," he said. (MT/AFP, 06.28.23, NYT, 06.29.23)
  • The share of Russians who trust Prigozhin has halved since May, according to Levada’s polls, the latest of which took place on June 22-28 and, thus, captured the public’s impressions of the failed mutiny. When asked to name several Russian political whom they trust, 2% named Prigozhin among others in June, compared to 4% in May. Confidence in Prigozhin’s arch-enemy Shoigu also declined from 10% in May to 8% in June. (RM, 06.29.23)
    • According to the survey, three-quarters (76%) of respondents approve of the activities of Sergei Lavrov, 71% of Ramzan Kadyrov, a little more than half (51%) of Shoigu, and about a third of the respondents (34%) have a positive attitude towards the activities of Prigozhin. (Levada, 06.30.23)
    • Before the attempted mutiny, 19% of respondents were ready to support Prigozhin if he took part in the 2024 presidential election. After June 24, the share of such respondents decreased by half - to 10%, which repeats the two-fold decrease in his authority on other issues. (Levada, 06.30.23)
  • African nations where the Wagner private military company operates should decide themselves on whether to continue their cooperation, following a weekend mutiny against Russia’s military leadership that ended with the mercenary group’s leader agreeing to leave the country, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Bloomberg, 06.30.23)
  • “It’s clear that Putin comes out of this crisis weakened,” Borrell said Thursday. “But a weaker Putin is a greater danger.” (Bloomberg, 06.30.23)

June 30.

  • Following the mutiny, probes were also underway into close allies of Shoigu, the defense minister, according to a person familiar with the situation. (Bloomberg, 06.30.23)
  • Ukraine’s  top general Valerii Zaluzhnyi  claimed Wagner’s exit from the frontline has not led to a noticeable change on the battlefield following the rebellion. (WP, 06.30.2023)
  • Lavrov asserted that Russia would emerge “stronger and more resilient” after the mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group. In Mr. Lavrov’s telling, the mutiny — in which Wagner mercenaries captured the large southern city of Rostov-on-Don and marched to within 125 miles of Moscow, the capital — was “a minor trouble.” (NYT, 06.30.23)
  • Russia's media watchdog Roskomnadzor has blocked the websites of RIA FAN, Politics Today, Economy Today, Neva News, and People's News online media outlets for their ties to the rebellious leader of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin. Prigozhin shut down his media holding “Patriot.” His catering business, Concord, is also “nearing its end,” according to Meduza and to pro-war Russian Telegram channel “Rybar.” (RM, RFE/RL, 06.30.23)

Timeframe not specified

  • Russians snapped up plane tickets to leave the country this weekend as mercenaries from the Wagner Group head toward Moscow, the capital, in a possible power grab. The prices for flights departing on June 24 from Moscow to neighboring countries, such as Turkey, climbed as much as fivefold and there were almost no tickets left as of evening, Kommersant reported. The situation is similar for flights leaving on June 25. Prices for Monday, June 26, were average, the paper said. Wagner troops were 400 kilometers from Moscow as of June 24. (RFE/RL, 06.24.23)
    • The head of a party in Russia's rubber-stamp Parliament, Sergei Mironov, called for an investigation into what he claimed was a ''line of V.I.P.s -- officials and civil servants'' flocking to leave the country from the private jet terminal of Moscow's Vnukovo Airport during Wagner's abbreviated march toward Moscow on Saturday. (NYT, 06.29.23)
  • Around 6,000 or so Wagner personnel perform varied work outside of Russia and Ukraine—from safeguarding mines and politicians in the Central African Republic, whose civil war dates back a decade—to defending oil wells and government-held territory in Syria. (WSJ, 06.28.23)
  • The Dossier Center, which investigates the Russian leadership, said Surovikin had a personal registration with the Wagner Group. (Bloomberg, 06.30.23)


II. U.S. and Russian priorities for the bilateral agenda

Nuclear security and safety:

  • Russia is gradually reducing the number of personnel at the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, Ukraine's military intelligence agency says. (Wires/ABC, 06.30.23)

North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs:

Iran and its nuclear program:

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Iran's full-fledged membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will be decided next week. (RFE/RL, 06.30.23)
  • The United States, Britain, and France demanded on June 23 that the United Nations urgently investigate Russia’s reported use of Iranian-provided drones in the war in Ukraine (AP, 06.24.23)

Humanitarian impact of the Ukraine conflict:

  • Russia summarily executed 77 civilians being held in arbitrary detention during its invasion of Ukraine — killings which constitute war crimes, the United Nations said on June 27. (MT/AFP, 06.27.23)
  • At least 13 civilians, including two 14-year-old twin sisters, have been killed in Russian strikes on Ukraine over the past day, regional officials said on June 28.. (RFE/RL, 06.28.23)
    • The Kremlin said on June 28 that Russian forces only hit military-linked targets in Ukraine(MT/AFP, 06.28.23)
  • In Kyiv, three people were killed and 11 wounded on June 24 when a high-rise residential building was hit by a missile, local authorities said. Russia has repeatedly targeted civilian infrastructure in Kyiv with missiles and drones since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine 16 months ago. (RFE/RL, 06.24.23)
  • A recent audit of bomb shelters in Ukraine prompted by the deaths of three people locked out of a shelter during a Russian air raid uncovered an “unacceptable” situation, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said, and resulted in disciplinary action for many local leaders. The inspection found that only 15 percent of Kyiv's 4,655 bomb shelters were suitable for use and only 44 percent were freely accessible (Reuters, 06.27.23)
  • Colombia's President Gustavo Petro said on June 28 that his country would send a note of diplomatic protest to Russia after three Colombians were injured in a missile strike that killed 12 in Ukraine.. (MT/AFP, 06.28.23)
  • Ukrainian prosecutors on June 30 charged a Russian politician and two suspected Ukrainian collaborators with war crimes over the alleged deportation of dozens of orphans from the formerly occupied southern city of Kherson, some of them as young as 1 year old. (Reuters, 06.30.23)
  • Residents of the Kherson region of Ukraine have begun to return home after the waters of the Dnipro River receded to its banks nearly three weeks after the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, Ukrainian officials said on June 25. (NYT, 06.26.23)
  • Russia’s foreign minister hinted that Moscow won’t back another extension of the Black Sea safe-transit deal that’s allowed Ukraine to export millions of tons of grain since last summer. Sergei Lavrov said the agreement has become “commercial,” - that not enough of the grain has been shipped to poor countries. Ukraine said it wants an answer next week from the UN and Turkey about extending the pact, which is up for renewal July 17. (Bloomberg, 06.30.23)
  • The International Monetary Fund gave the final nod to a $890 million disbursement of funding to Ukraine as military authorities say the country’s counteroffensive is making progress (Bloomberg, 06.30.23)
  • Hungary rejected the European Commission's plans to grant more money to Ukraine and is not willing to contribute additional money to finance the EU's increased debt-service costs, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on June 30. (Reuters, 06.30.23)

Military aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts:

  • On June 26 Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Ukraine had regained roughly 50 square miles in the country's south.  The Defense Ministry on June 26 said its forces had taken the village of Rivnopil in western Donetsk region, pushing back Russia's defensive lines along a key axis of Ukrainian advance in recent weeks. (WSJ, 06.26.23,WP, 06.26.23)
  • On June 28 Ukrainian forces appeared to be seizing more of the river islands and swampy banks around the southern city of Kherson in a possible expansion of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, according to residents and Russian military bloggers. (NYT, 06.28.23)
  • On June 30 Ukraine's president said that he ordered his generals to gird the northern border after the leader of an abortive mutiny in Russia was said to have arrived in Belarus, while a senior defense official claimed Ukrainian troops have wrested the "strategic initiative" from Russia in the 15-month full-scale fight. (RFE/RL, 06.30.23)
  • On June 30 Ukrainian forces continued to control a foothold on the southern side of the Dnipro river, adjacent to the Antonovsky bridge and across from the city of Kherson, according to Russian pro-war Telegram channel “Dva Mayora,”  Meanwhile Ukrainian units continued to try advance in the Bakhmut area with heavy fighting reported, according to this channel. (RM, 06.30.23)
  • On June 30 Media Zona and BBC identified 26,801 of Russian servicemen who had been killed in Ukraine. (Media Zone, 06.30.23)
  • At least 14 Russian troops were killed during a cross-border raid by anti-Kremlin units made up of Russian nationals this month, regional authorities have revealed nearly a month after the incident. (MT/AFP, 06.28.23)
  • Three weeks into a counteroffensive critical to Ukraine’s prospects against Russia, its army is encountering an array of vexing challenges that complicate its plans, even as it wields sophisticated new Western-provided weapons. Not least is a vast swath of minefields protecting Russia’s defensive line, forming a killing field for Ukrainian troops advancing on the open steppe of the south. (NYT, 06.26.23)
  • The forest, just west of Kreminna, a Russian-occupied town in Ukraine's Luhansk region, is now an epicenter of some of the war's fiercest fighting. But unlike elsewhere on the eastern and southern fronts, where Ukraine has mounted a long-anticipated counteroffensive, the fighting here is being driven by Russia — in its latest push to seize the entire eastern Donbas region. (WP, 06.28.23)
  • Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, told the Financial Times that the liberation of a group of villages under Russian occupation in recent weeks was “not the main event” in Kyiv’s planned attack. “When it happens, you will all see it . . . Everyone will see everything,” said Reznikov, brushing aside media coverage of slow progress against well-fortified Russian positions. (FT, 06.28.23)
  • Zaluzhnyi expressed frustration that, Ukraine still has not received F-16s His troops also should be firing at least as many artillery shells as their enemy, Zaluzhny said, but have been outshot tenfold at times because of limited resources. So it “pisses me off,” Zaluzhny said. Zaluzhny said he relays his concerns to Milley, whom he has grown to deeply admire and considers a friend, several times per week in conversations that can last hours. (WP, 06.30.23)
  • Ukraine's defense minister said an international program to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets could begin next month. (Reuters, 06.24.23
  • The U.S. has announced $500mn in new lethal aid for Ukraine to shore up the country’s air defenses and support a much-awaited counteroffensive that is off to a slow start. Included in the package announced on June 27 are more munitions for the Patriot air defense system, additional munitions for Himars long-range rocket systems, mine clearing equipment and other vehicles, weapons and ammunition as Ukraine is pressing to push through (FT, 06.28.23)
  • The U.S. is leaning toward providing cluster munitions to Ukraine, and the announcement could come as early next month, two senior U.S. officials said. (NBC, 06.29.23)
  • The U.S. has been considering approving an Army Tactical Missile System for Ukraine, American and European officials said, a move that would come as Russia grapples with unrest in its military leadership and uncertainty on the battlefield. (WSJ, 06.29.23)
  • A two-day summit of European Union leaders dominated by talk of the Ukraine war and boosting defenses continued overnight on June 29-30 with a statement reiterating commitments "to provide sustainable military support to Ukraine for as long as it takes.". (RFE/RL, 06.30.23, Reuters, 06.29.23)
  • On June 26 EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg approved a €3.5bn top-up to a fund financing the bloc’s military support for Ukraine and discussed how to respond to the events in Russia. (FT, 06.26.23)
  • Germany intends to provide Ukraine with 45 more Gepard, or Cheetah, anti-aircraft tanks by the end of the year in its defensive struggle against Russia. (dpa, 06.24.23)
  • On June 26 The Australian government said it would provide an additional A$110mn (USD $74mn) of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, including 70 military vehicles and ammunition. (FT, 06.26.23)
  • The Bulgarian government has approved a new military aid package for Ukraine. The details of both aid packages remain classified. (RFE/RL, 06.26.23)
  • Switzerland blocked arms maker Ruag AG from selling almost 100 tanks in a deal that would have seen them used by Ukraine in its war with Russia. (Bloomberg, 06.28.23
  • Lithuania is purchasing two NASAMS air-defense systems for Ukraine, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said. (Reuters, 06.28.23)
  • Satellite imagery obtained by Bellingcat suggests that Russia created a dam on the outskirts of the occupied Ukrainian city of Tokmak in Zaporizhzhia oblast ahead of Ukraine’s counteroffensive. It now appears that Russia may be considering flooding tactics in Tokmak. (Bellingcat, 06.29.23)

Punitive measures related to Russia’s war against Ukraine and their impact globally:

  • European Union leaders are backing plans that would impose a windfall tax on profits generated by more than €200 billion ($217 billion) of Russian central bank assets to aid Ukraine’s reconstruction, and will seek the political support of key Group of Seven countries. (Bloomberg, 06.30.23)
  • Ukrainian officials and human rights groups are asking the United States to close what they describe as a loophole that allows Russian crude oil that has been refined in other countries to be shipped to the United States. (NYT, 06.30.23)
  • Switzerland has expanded financial and travel sanctions against Russian entities and persons in step with the most recent sanctions imposed by the European Union on Moscow after the invasion of Ukraine.. (Reuters, 06.28.23)
  • The U.S. announced new sanctions targeting the Wagner Group’s gold-mining activities in Africa. The sanctions targeted Midas Ressources SARLU, a mining company in the Central African Republic affiliated with Wagner leader Prigozhin, the Treasury Department said. Also targeted was Diamville SAU, a gold and diamond purchasing company controlled by Prigozhin, Treasury said. (Bloomberg, 06.28.23)
  • Ukrainian state-owned energy company Naftogaz said it has taken legal action in the United States to recover $5 billion awarded by an arbitration court in The Hague as compensation for damages and lost property in Crimea. (RFE/RL, 06.23.23)
  • The European Fencing Confederation (EFC) has suspended the member federations of Russia and Belarus over those countries' joint instigation of the war in Ukraine.. (dpa, 06.25.23)
  • Russia extended the ban on the transportation of goods across the country by trucks from unfriendly countries until Dec. 30. (Xinhua, 06.30.23)
  • A Russian court has fined Google 4 billion rubles ($47 million) for failing to pay an earlier fine over alleged abuse of its dominant position in the video-hosting market, the country's anti-monopoly watchdog said. (Reuters, 06.27.23)
  • The Czech government said late on June 28 it had banned all athletes representing Russia from taking part in local competitions as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continued. (AFP, 06.29.23)
  • Vladimir Lisin has transferred his stakes in Russia’s biggest steelmaker and a rail freight operator to companies registered in Abu Dhabi, the latest example of a billionaire shifting assets to the oil-rich emirate. (FT, 06.30.23)
  • Billionaire Igor Makarov renounced Russian citizenship. He became the sixth billionaire to do so since the start of the war. (Meduza, 06.29.23)
  • Well-known economist Andrei Movchan, 55, who currently resides in Britain and holds a Cypriot passport, said on Facebook on June 29 that he had renounced his Russian citizenship. (RFE/RL, 06.30.23)
  • A group of Russians has bid farewell to dating app Tinder on June 30 with a beachfront funeral in the resort city of Sochi. e. (MT/AFP, 06.30.23)

Ukraine-related negotiations:

  • US Secretary of State Blinken said “the biggest impediment to getting to how we know this has to end at some point, a negotiation, diplomacy, is President Putin’s conviction that he can outlast Ukraine and he can outlast all of us.  The more we’re able to disabuse him of that notion, the more likely it is that at some point he’ll come to the table.” “ (, 06.28.23)
  • Former U.S. President Donald Trump said on June 29 Putin has been "somewhat weakened" by an aborted mutiny and that now is the time for the United States to try to broker a negotiated peace settlement between Russia and Ukraine. Trump did not rule out that the Kyiv government might have to concede some territory to Russia in order to stop the war. He said everything would be "subject to negotiation,” if he were president, but that Ukrainians who have waged a vigorous fight to defend their land have "earned a lot of credit." (Reuters, 06.30.23)
  • Pope Francis's peace envoy met with a Russian official wanted by the ICC over allegations of illegally transferring Ukrainian children to Russia and Moscow's spiritual leader Patriarch Kirill on a visit to the Russian capital on June 29. Cardinal Matteo Zuppi began his visit to Russia earlier this week,. (MT/AFP, 06.29.23)
  • The share of Russians backing negotiations increased by eight percentage points to 53% from a month earlier, according to Levada. Following the march by Prigozhin and Wagner fighters toward Moscow over the weekend, the share of those favoring a continuation of fighting fell to 39%, according to the survey, due to be published on June 30. (Bloomberg, 06.30.23)

Great Power rivalry/new Cold War/NATO-Russia relations:

  • Blinken said “you’re going to see at the NATO Summit a very robust package for Ukraine, political and practical. “ (, 06.28.23)
  • Germany will establish a permanent presence of around 4,000 troops in Lithuania in a bid to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank against Russia, the country’s defense minister has said. (FT, 06.26.23)
  • Zelensky will only attend the upcoming NATO Summit in person if Ukraine gets a satisfactory result. Zelensky's office said the President won't attend the Vilnius summit if the alliance’s leaders "lack courage.” (Hindustan Times, 06.30.23,, 06.30.23)
  • Zelensky urged NATO to stop looking at deliberations in the Kremlin when deciding on support for Ukraine, as he reiterated his nation’s desire to join the military bloc. (Bloomberg, 06.28.23)
  • The EU is preparing to offer “future security commitments” to Ukraine.(FT, 06.29.23)
  • The Hungarian parliament's house committee has rejected a proposal to schedule a vote on the ratification of Sweden's NATO membership for next week.(Reuters, 06.29.23)

China-Russia: Allied or aligned?

  • Russia is on the cusp of overtaking Saudi Arabia as the biggest oil supplier to China. Shipments from Russia now account for 14% of Chinese supplies, up from 8.8% before the war, says the commodity-data provider Kpler. Saudi Arabia's share fell to 14.5% in the three months to May. (WSJ, 06.27.23)
  • China delivered 112,000 vehicles to Russia — roughly the same amount it sold there during all of last year. (Bloomberg, 06.26.23)
  • Taiwan sighted two Russian frigates sailing off its eastern coast on June 27 and deployed surveillance ships and aircraft to monitor their movements. (MT/AFP, 06.28.23)
  • According to Chinese customs data, exports to Russia have surged by 76% in 2023, while imports have inched up by just 20.4%, VPost writes. (MT/AFP, 06.28.23)

Missile defense:

  • No significant developments.

Nuclear arms:

  • Lukashenko said on June 27 that his military and security chiefs are working out an “algorithm” of how Belarussian military would be using Russian NSNWs, stored in Belarus, if attacked, according to Belta. "Nobody has ever fought with a nuclear power. Now the main task. Gulevich (Chief of the Belarussian General Staff ) just here. He, the [defense?] minister and the chairman of the KGB, have been tasked with determining the algorithm for the use of these weapons. … The basis [of this algorithm] should be that we should be using it in a difficult moment if we are attacked, which means that they will attack… the Union State." (RM, 07.27.23)

Conflict in Syria:

  • Russian air strikes on Syria's northwest on June 25 killed at least seven people, including four civilians,. (AFP, 06.25.23)

Cyber security/AI:

  • Kazakh Deputy Prosecutor-General Ulan Baizhanov has confirmed that Kazakh authorities have detained Russian IT expert Nikita Kislitsin at the request of the United States.. (RFE/RL, 06.28.23)

Energy exports from CIS:

  • No significant developments.

Climate change:

  • No significant developments.

U.S.-Russian economic ties:

  • No significant developments.

U.S.-Russian relations in general:

  • The United States said on June 27 it let Moscow send an airplane to Washington to pick up diplomats despite a ban on commercial flights and called for reciprocal treatment. (MT/AFP, 06.27.23)


III. Russia’s domestic policies

Domestic politics, economy and energy:

  • The share of Russians who think Russia is headed in the right direction declined from 67% in May to 61% in June, according to Levada’s polls, the latest of which took place on June 22-28 and, thus, captured the public’s impressions of the failed mutiny. Putin’s approval rating decreased by 1 percentage point from 82% to 81% in the same period of time. Putin continued to be most trusted of Russia’s politicians. When asked to name several Russian politicians, whom they trust, 42% named Putin both in May and June. (RM, 06.29.23)
  • The biggest threat to Russia is the regime of President Putin, jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny said on June 27, in his first comments since an aborted Wagner mutiny.  (MT/AFP, 06.27.23)
  • Russian authorities have added Latvia-based independent Russian news outlet Novaya Gazeta Europe to the country's list of “undesirable” organizations. (MT/AFP, 06.28.23)
  • A Moscow court on June 29 sentenced noted media manager Ilya Krasilshchik, who resides in Berlin, to eight years in prison on a charge of discrediting Russia's armed forces involved in Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. (RFE/RL, 06.28.23)

Defense and aerospace:

  • Putin signed an order in permitting convicted men to serve in the army. (FT, 06.26.23)
  • The salaries of the Russian military will increase by 10.5% on October 1. (Meduza, 06.30.23)
  • Organizers of Russia’s International Air and Space Salon confirmed on June 30 that the flagship airshow due to be held in July this year in the Moscow region town of Zhukovsky has been postponed to 2024. (MT/AFP, 06.30.23)
  •  See section Military aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts above.

Security, law-enforcement and justice:

  • A Moscow court has sentenced a Russian aerospace scientist to 12 years in prison on charges of treason linked to his participation in a multinational high-speed flight project, media reported on June 26. Valery Golubkin, 71, was detained in April 2021 on suspicion of passing state secrets to a NATO country. (RFE/RL, 06.26.23)
  • A court in Siberia has sentenced the former emergency situations minister of the Kemerovo region, Aleksandr Mamontov, to 10 1/2 years in prison over a 2018 fire in the regional capital that killed 60 people, including 37 children. (RFE/RL, 06.27.23)


IV. Russia’s relations with other countries

Russia’s general foreign policy and relations with “far abroad” countries:

  • With another bumper harvest starting in fertile farmlands like the North Caucasus region, Russia will be the source of one in five cargoes of exported wheat in the season that starts July 1, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By contrast, Ukraine will see its share halve from levels before the invasion to about 5% as production suffers long-term damage from mined fields and broken logistics chain. (Bloomberg, 06.30.23)
  • Bolivia has signed lithium agreements with Russian state nuclear firm Rosatom and China's Citic Guoan Group, the South American country's government said on June 29, as it looks to develop its huge but largely untapped resources of the battery metal. (RFE/RL, 06.30.23)
  • In Slovakia Robert Fico, a socially conservative left-wing populist and two-time former prime minister, who has risen to the top of the polls once again while promising to end military aid to Ukraine and veto "pointless" European Union sanctions on Russia. (WP, 06.26.23)
  • Poland said on June 30 it arrested a Russian ice hockey player on suspicion of having spied for Moscow while playing for a Polish club, prompting Russia to protest and demand an "immediate" explanation. (MT/AFP, 06.30.23)


  • Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, in a surprise visit to Ukraine, Zelensky of his strong support for Kyiv’s "courageous" fight against the Russian invasion. " (RFE/RL, 06.29.23)
  • The EU risks “importing instability” if it relaxes its standards on democracy and corruption to hasten the accession of Ukraine and other candidate countries, Denmark’s foreign minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has warned. (FT, 06.29.23)
  • A court in Kyiv has sentenced the former head of the regional council in the southern region of Kherson, Vladyslav Manher, and a former aide to a regional lawmaker, Oleksiy Levin, to 10 years in prison each in the high-profile case of a deadly attack on anti-corruption activist Kateryna Handzyuk in 2018. (Current Time, 06.26.23)
  • Belarusian authorities have reportedly provided Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash with diplomatic immunity to prevent his extradition from Austria to the United States. (Current Time, 06.28.23)
  • The Croatian parliament voted on June 28 to recognize as genocide the Holodomor -- the starvation of millions in Ukraine in the 1930s under Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.. (RFE/RL, 06.28.23)
  • The Israeli Foreign Ministry said on June 27 it was summoning the Ukrainian ambassador for a "clarification," after the Ukrainian Embassy accused "the current Israeli government" of "a clear pro-Russian position.". (AFP, 06.27.23)
  • Ukraine is under pressure from international lenders and watchdogs at home to re-impose a requirement that officials publicly declare their assets, a pillar of its anti-corruption policies that was suspended after Russia's invasion last year. (Reuters, 06.30.23)

Russia's other post-Soviet neighbors:

  • Authorities in Nagorno Karabakh say four ethnic Armenian soldiers were killed early on June 28 by Azerbaijani fire.. (RFE/RL, 06.28.23)
  • Blinken on June 29 said hard work remains to be done to reach an agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan after the conclusion of three days of talks in Washington between the two Caucasus countries' foreign ministerst. (RFE/RL, 06.29.23)
  • Russia on June 23 urged Azerbaijan to unblock access to Nagorno-Karabakh as concern grows over a deepening humanitarian crisis in the the region. (MT/AFP, 06.23.23)
  • Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Serik Zhumangharin, who is also the Central Asian country's trade and integration minister, has confirmed reports saying that Kazakhstan exported sanctioned dual-use technology to Russian companies. (RFE/RL, 06.28.23)
  •  A court in the southern Kazakh city of Qyzylorda has sentenced Gulmira Satybaldy, former wife of a convicted nephew of the Central Asian country's former authoritarian president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, to eight years in prison on charges of embezzlement and the illegal appropriation of shares and assets of several enterprises. (RFE/RL, 06.30.23)
  • Turkmenistan on June 29 officially opened the city of Arkadag — a development started from scratch and named in honor of the current president’s father. (RFE/RL, 06.29.23)
  • The European Union has assembled a new support package meant to mitigate the impact of Russia's war in Ukraine on Moldova and "bring the country closer" to the 27-member bloc, the European Commission has announced. (RFE/RL, 06.29.23)

Quotable and notable

  • During a 2022 press conference, Putin said of PMC Wagner: “I have already made it clear that the Russian state has nothing to do with this. I am saying this quite responsibly without any hidden agenda. Local authorities invite them at the state level, thank them for their work, and so on.” Putin said on June 27, 2023: “I want everyone to be aware of the fact that all of the funding the Wagner Group received came from the state. It got all its funding from us, from the Defense Ministry, from the state budget.” (RM, 06.23.23)
  • “If Moscow decides to withdraw them and send us the Beethovens or the Mozarts rather than Wagners, we will have them,” said Fidèle Gouandjika, a top adviser to Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadéra — who owes his survival to Wagner mercenaries after they put down an attempted rebellion in 2020. (FT, 06.28.23)


*Here and elsewhere, italicized text indicates insights from RM staff

[1] All distances in this entry, unless specified otherwise, are given as measured by Google if one were to drive between the two locations.

[2] As the crow flies.


Photo shared by the Russian presidential press service ( under a CC BY 4.0 license.