US President Joe Biden said Monday it is “too early” to draw definitive conclusions on the impact of the Wagner mercenary group’s aborted march against Moscow and stressed his efforts to maintain Western unity on Ukraine.
“We’re going to keep assessing the fallout of this weekend’s events and the implications for Russia and Ukraine,” Biden said at the White House. “It’s still too early to reach a definitive conclusion about where this is going.”
Biden stressed, however, that he and key Western allies were in close touch and that he had also told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that US support will remain strong.
“No matter what happened in Russia, we, the United States, will continue to support Ukraine’s defense and sovereignty and its territorial integrity,” Biden said he told Zelensky over the weekend, as rebel Wagner troops briefly took over a key southern Russian city and threatened to enter Moscow.
Biden dismissed conspiracy theories of Western involvement in the rebellion, saying he coordinated with European leaders on Zoom and “they agreed with me that we had to make sure we gave (Russian President Vladimir) Putin no excuse… to blame this on the West and to blame this on NATO.”
The turmoil was “part of the struggle within the Russian system,” Biden said.
The US president added that he would be calling key allies again Monday. He did not say which leaders, but on Saturday he consulted with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.