(CNN) — President Joe Biden on Monday emphasized that the United States and its closest allies were not involved in the rebellion by the Wagner Group against the Russian government, his first public comments since the weekend mutiny.
“They agreed with me that to make sure we gave Putin no excuse … to blame this on the West or to blame this on NATO,” Biden said of his conversations over the weekend with allies. “We made clear we were not involved. We had nothing to do with it. This is part of a struggle within the Russian system.”
The comments from Biden echo statements that his administration has made publicly and behind the scenes in the days since the Wagner Group left its positions in Ukraine in an apparent march toward Moscow. CNN reported that the administration quickly sent messages to the Russian government that the US would not get involved in the incident.
Earlier Monday, a spokesman for the National Security Council said the US was not involved in the rebellion in Russia after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russian special services are investigating whether Western intelligence services were involved in the revolt.
While Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group, had turned his forces around before reaching Moscow in an apparent deal with the Kremlin brokered brokered by Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, Biden said it’s still not clear what is happening in Russia.
“It’s still too early to reach a definitive conclusion about where this is going,” he said. “The ultimate outcome of all this remains to be seen but no matter what comes next I will keep making sure that our allies and our partners are closely aligned in how we are reading and responding to the situation”
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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