President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said that 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 as he met Sergei Melikov, the head of the Caucasus region, according to an extract of the meeting aired on Russian television.
Putin was replying to Melikov who had said that “there was not a single person in Dagestan who did not support decisions made by the leaders of the Russian Federation” over the aborted rebellion.
As Wagner troops and their chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, were pulling out of the city of Rostov-on-Don after calling off their mutiny, some residents applauded and cheered “Wagner! Wagner!” according to an AFP journalist on the scene.
The short-lived rebellion represented the most serious challenge to Putin since he came to power in Russia on Dec. 31, 1999.