Home Featured UK ‘prepared’ for ‘range of scenarios’ in Russia, Rishi Sunak says
UK ‘prepared’ for ‘range of scenarios’ in Russia, Rishi Sunak says

UK ‘prepared’ for ‘range of scenarios’ in Russia, Rishi Sunak says

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LONDON — The U.K. is “prepared” for a “range of scenarios” in Russia, the British prime minister said Monday after an aborted mutiny that saw Wagner Group mercenaries advance quickly toward Moscow.

Speaking to reporters, Rishi Sunak said the attempted rebellion, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner Group, exposed “real cracks” in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership — echoing an assessment from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“It’s a situation that we’ve been monitoring for some time, in the instability that will be caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine,” Sunak said during a visit to Nottingham.

Prigozhin’s uprising ended Saturday after he agreed to go into exile in Belarus in exchange for the Kremlin dropping its criminal case against him and offering his troops amnesty. The warlord’s whereabouts and future plans, however, remain unknown. And Russian media reported Monday that the criminal case may still be active.

Asked whether Prigozhin’s failed rebellion could precipitate Putin’s fall, Sunak said it is “too early to predict with certainty what the consequences” of Saturday’s events might be. But, he added: “Of course, we are prepared, as we always would be, for a range of scenarios.”

The U.K. government has not yet spelled out what scenarios it is considering, and officials are so far keen to stress that any challenge to Putin’s authority is a Russian internal issue.

“It is purely an internal matter for them and, first and foremost, we want them to behave responsibly and to protect civilians,” Sunak’s official spokesman said later Monday.

Asked if the U.K. is opposed to regime change in Moscow, he added: “Issues of regime change in Russia are for Russia to resolve first and foremost.”

In a statement to British lawmakers Monday afternoon, U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Prigozhin “drove a coach and horses through President Putin’s case for war.”

Cleverly quoted some of Prigozhin’s public remarks that questioned Putin’s narrative about why the war was launched.

“Everybody should note that one of Putin’s protégées had publicly destroyed his case for the war in Ukraine,” Cleverly said. “Prigozhin’s rebellion is an unprecedented challenge to President Putin’s authority and it is clear that cracks are emerging in the Russian support for the war.”

Cleverly did not provide details on the scenarios the U.K. government is preparing for, and ducked a question by former Prime Minister Liz Truss, who pressed him to agree with her call for Britain and its allies to craft a plan in case there is an “implosion of Russia.”

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