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First Move with Julia Chatterley
Uncertainty Looms Over Russia after Insurrection; Russian State Media: Wagner Leader Remains Under Investigation for Inciting "Armed Rebellion"; Rinkevics: Putin appears to be Weakened; Kremlin Releases Pre- Recorded Video of Putin, no Indication of when or where it was made; China Supports Russia's "National Stability"; Russia is World's Biggest Exporter of Wheat. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired June 26, 2023 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN HOST, FIRST MOVE: And a warm welcome to "First Move", this Monday and much to discuss after this weekend's events in Russia. The
world's attention gripped by extraordinary scenes as Wagner group mercenaries staged their short lived rebellion against the Kremlin.
Claiming control of Russian Military facilities in two cities and making an abortive march on Moscow, Russian President Putin making his first
appearance since the mutiny in a recorded video address and not acknowledging the weekend's turmoil. We have no certainty about precisely
when that video was made.
EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Luxembourg today thing the insurrection has undermined Putin's grip on power and weakened Russian Military readiness
overall, the Foreign Minister of Latvia and the country's President elect is attending those meetings and we will hear from him later on this hour.
Latvia of course borders Belarus, while Wagner group Head Yevgeny Prigozhin has reportedly agreed to live in exile. We'll also hear from retired U.S.
Lieutenant General and CNN Military analyst Mark Hertling who says the Wagner revolt reflects, "The Incredible dysfunction and corruption of all
those involved in this weekend's extraordinary showdown".
In the meantime, Ukraine's Foreign Minister today urging EU nations to accelerate Russia's defeat "by stepping up support for his nation". Ukraine
today, claiming fresh gains in the Southeast and advances in areas around Bakhmut the town that Wagner claimed to have retaken last month but then of
course it left.
In the meantime on global markets caution as you would expect as investors monitor the latest events. U.S. futures little changed at this stage taking
back some early a weakness in Europe, relatively mixed to after a weaker Asia handover. We're seeing more pronounced reactions though across the
Natural gas prices rallying in Europe gold, silver as well as wheat as perhaps you would expect also remaining higher. A busy hour of mutiny
scrutiny ahead, so let me give you a look at that video of President Putin released by the Kremlin. He appears to be giving a short speech to a youth
industrial forum as I mentioned without mentioning the aborted mutiny this weekend.
Again, it's not clear when or where it was filmed. And the Russian Military also released this video showing the Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu
visiting troops. It's also not known when this took place either. In the meantime, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaking about the Wagner
rebellion while visiting Lithuania.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Because of them demonstrates how difficult and dangerous it is for President Putin to be reliant on
mercenaries that has actually turned against him. And it also demonstrates that it is hard to predict exactly what will now happen in the next days
But we should not make the mistakes that we are under estimating the Russians. So we need to continue to provide support to Ukraine. And that's
exactly what NATO, NATO allies are doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Meanwhile in Moscow, all security restrictions imposed as the Wagner rebellion unfolded have now been lifted as Matthew Chance reports.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERANATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's been a weekend of chaos in Russia, and armed insurrection threatening the
Russian state, ending as suddenly as it began. It kicked off on Friday, with allegations of a deadly strike on a Wagner Military camp in Ukraine,
the leader of the Russian mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin, accusing his rivals in the Defense Ministry of ordering the attack.
Russian officials denied any role, but a furious Prigozhin who has repeatedly accused the military of mishandling the war in Ukraine vowed
YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, HEAD OF WAGNER GROUP: Those who destroyed our guys today, along with tens of thousands of lives of Russian soldiers, will be
punished. I asked no one to put up any resistance. Justice for the troops will be restored and then justice for all of Russia.
CHANCE (voice over): The threat of violence was a shocking, unprecedented challenge putting Wagner on a collision course with the Kremlin. A criminal
case was launched accusing Prigozhin of insurrection. But that didn't stop him. By Saturday morning, Wagner forces had moved into the Russian City of
Rostov-on-Don in the country south taking over a key military facility there with little resistance.
For Wagner forces continued north towards Moscow shooting down Russian Military aircraft that challenge them ratcheting up the stakes as the
Russian President addressed the nation.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: This is a blow to Russia to our people. All those who deliberately chose the path of treachery, who prepared an
armed mutiny, who chose the path of blackmail and terrorist methods will face inevitable punishment, and will answer both to the law and to our
CHANCE (voice over): The slow progress of the Wagner column roads were dug up along the route. Military checkpoints set up outside the city as
Muscovites braced for bloodshed. But it was a confrontation that never came. Behind the Scenes a deal was brokered, involving the leader of
Prigozhin would help the Wagner advance and supposedly leave for exile in Belarus. An audio message confirmed his forces would stand down.
PRIGOZHIN: Therefore, realizing all the responsibility for the fact that Russian blood will be shed from one of the sides, we turn our columns
around and leave in the opposite direction to the field camps, according to the plan.
CHANCE (voice over): The Kremlin later confirmed grievous criminal charges would be dropped as part of the deal. But as Wagner forces dispersed on
Saturday, crowds in Rostov cheered them a worrying sign for the Kremlin, that Prigozhin short lived rebellion had struck a popular called. The big
question now in Russia, is what will, this unprecedented challenge to Putin's rule unleash?
CHATTERLEY: Nick Paton Walsh joins us now from Kyiv. Nick, as you wrote this weekend incredibly eloquently, there's really more questions than
answers at this stage. And not much of what we're seeing actually makes sense. But if we tie the threads together of some of the videos, the
recorded messages that we've seen, both off President Putin himself.
And also the Defense Minister, despite the accusations that the Wagner chief leveled in his direction, if you believe this video, he still remains
in his position and in charge. What do you make of what we've seen from the Russian side so far over the last 12 hours?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, the Shoigu video is interesting because it shows him visiting troops,
it seems on the Ukrainian front lines video that appears to be recorded on the Friday in which Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner Chief began his
insurrection made his speech saying the rationale for the war was basically a lie.
And then claimed his camp was hit by what he said was a Russian Military airstrike. That's something that the Russian Military have indeed denied.
So that in itself is baffling. That show you could be touring the front lines in the area while this is beginning to emerge.
So we'll have to see quite where he is now, what his position genuinely has turned into over the last weekend of turmoil, but possibly more
significantly, is the presence or the lack of it, of Vladimir Putin. This is without doubt the most serious challenge to his rule, since he came into
power in late 1999.
And here we are with a pre-recorded message in which he talks about a Youth Forum in Tula instantly where the Wagner column got near during Saturday
and no mention of the armed insurrection at all and it's possibly a bid by the Kremlin to suggest that everything is as normal business, back to where
it was earlier last week.
But that's obviously nonsense in the minds of virtually every Russian with a television set, even Russian state TV has been openly analyzing what on
earth, all of this means. And so there is essentially a question now as to exactly where Putin is? Why he is not evidently making himself publicly
available to show.
He is still in charge he is still pulling the levers of power. Look, they could fix this in a matter of minutes, frankly, by just showing him
chairing a meeting of his top advisors in the Kremlin. But that hasn't happened that may be through choice to show he's not perturbed by these
Or it may be for other reasons that we couldn't really get into speculating on but it shows again, a vacuum at the top of the Russian government.
They're aware enough to put the Prime Minister on television today, but we don't know really where Vladimir Putin is, or indeed where Yevgeny
Prigozhin is and it's important to stress that.
Well, we've had a sort of nice bow tied in these events by Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson saying that Alexander Lukashenko the President of
Belarus knew Prigozhin for a while, I gave him a phone call, after consulting with Vladimir Putin and came up with this deal where essentially
Prigozhin would flee to Belarus, where he's not publicly emerged either.
And that his fighters will get some sense of immunity or join the Ministry of Defense. Prigozhin never mentioned that in his audio message and just
said he turned around on the way to Moscow to avoid bloodshed. So many questions here to be answered at this charge are still against Prigozhin's
valid what has become a Wagner fighter?
Are they still recruiting? Are they still in the positions where they were on the front line or behind the front line or inside Russia's base camps as
they were earlier last week? Are they giving up their weapons and going home or joining the Ministry of Defense?
These urgent questions frankly for the integrity of the Russian state and the ones that we're not getting answers to instead we are seeing the
Russian Foreign Minister making can gain completely evidence free accusations that perhaps the Russian government is looking into the
involvement of Western intelligence services in this what they called armed insurrection.
Russian often does that blames internal crises on outsiders. And they say there's no evidence that he even knows what's in that investigation. But
it's a Russian state at this point floundering it seems to project unity, to protect control. And you've got to remember, they're still fighting a
war, which they've characterized as an existential fight against Ukraine, and its NATO backers.
And right now, it isn't clear entirely, who is running the show. It's on paper of Vladimir Putin. But in any coup you would normally expect. The man
who claimed to have survived and attempts to remove him from power to publicly put himself on display is in charge. We've not seen that yet
today, or indeed yesterday.
CHATTERLEY: And we'll keep watching for it. Very quickly, Nick, to your point, what about the reaction in Ukraine, one can only imagine how manic
President Zelenskyy's weekend was trying to strategize and work out perhaps how they can capitalize on what's clearly disarray in Moscow at this
WALSH: I mean, in short, the Russian sort of Ukrainian reaction has been this is the chickens coming home to roost. This is essentially the first
steps of the dismantling of the Russian regime. That's according to the Senior National Security Official Oleksiy Danilov here speaking yesterday.
Now, of course, there'll be champagne corks popping. I've seen gleeful Ukrainians myself, but it's important to remember that stability and a
nuclear power like Russia is often useful. And whoever comes to replace Putin, indeed, if Prigozhin had been successful, that wouldn't suddenly
have meant a passive Russia, looking for a peace deal on Ukrainian terms. So a lot that could still go wrong here.
But ultimately, the instability here, the distraction of the Russian Military having to deal with an insurrection by its own will probably work
in Ukraine's favor. The question, of course, is do they seize upon that immediately, as the turmoil continues, develop the turmoil play out in case
it worsens, and makes matters yet more complex for Putin?
There is a risk to of course, that to seismic change on the front line could indeed rally the Russian elite around Putin if they see the potential
for an existential loss in Ukraine and of course, to for Ukraine to adjust its position on the battlefield that can take time that can take days to
move thousands of troops to exploit what they perceive to be a weakness.
So I'm sure Ukraine and its Western allies, still assessing what this means who and Russia's forces had been moved. Were here why and indeed have the
frontlines changed much I suspect, we'll see some kind of motion in the weeks ahead. But really, still, the ultimate question is who was running
Russia's Military campaign?
We haven't seen Shoigu live today. We haven't seen Putin live today. We've not even seen Prigozhin live today and that you think, must have some
Russians wondering what is going on, particularly those in the trenches, but in their lives on the line for Putin's war of choice, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Perfect question for my next guest, Nick, great to have you Nick Paton Walsh there. And for more on this, we're joined by CNN's
Military analyst, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, the Former Commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, General welcome, great to get your
expertise on the show.
I'm going to pose that question that Nick was just asking, what do you make of the absence of President Putin coming out and saying, look, we suppress
this, suppose it rebellion, mutiny, whatever you want to call it, and who do you perceive to be in charge of the forces now that remain fighting in
LIEUTENANT GENERAL MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: What I make of Putin's absence today, as well as the other ones that Nick pointed out,
Shoigu -- off we need to add him to the list as well Prigozhin, some of the other commanders that were so vocal on the net on Friday asking Prigozhin
not to conduct this operation.
Some of the Russian Military commanders, tells me that it is certainly not a case of business as usual. The Russian forces, the Russian Military and
the Russian government have all experienced a great deal of trauma over the last 48 hours. And here's what's interesting, Julia, in the fact that
conditions on the battlefield require trust.
Trust between soldiers, trust between soldiers and their leaders trust between leaders and their government. We have seen throughout this campaign
by Russia, that they are missing much of that trust in both the tactical and the operational standpoint. Now we're seeing a massive disruption and
dysfunction, generating trust between the government and the forces on the ground.
So there are a lot of analysts today saying this won't have a whole lot of effect on the battlefield. I completely disagree with that. I think it will
certainly affect the capabilities of the Russian forces to continue to act inside of Ukraine.
CHATTERLEY: I think what we need to understand and I saw you talking about this over the week end was the scale of Wagner forces potentially that
we're talking about. And I know it's difficult to get a precise estimate, but somewhere between perhaps 25 and 40,000 troops we're talking about.
I think you estimated somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of those Russian forces that were and are fighting in Ukraine. You can't just integrate that
number of people, even if they were wheeling into the Russian forces, you also I'm sure can't expect them suddenly to just switch allegiance not
knowing where their boss, the Wagner Chief Prigozhin is at this moment, or what it means for them or him. How does this work?
HERTLING: That's the key question. In my view, Julia, you've asked it very succinctly, how do you integrate a group of people who were different, that
were fighting as part of a clan or a tribe, for a charismatic leader who thought he had connections that no other military commanders had?
How do you now take that organization and either insert them in different locations on the battlefield under a new commander, or integrate them into
other forces that have been depleted through combat, you don't. It's very difficult to take someone who thinks they are special and put them in with
just the normal troops in an infantry battalion.
There's hatred on both sides, or there's a lack of trust on both sides. And you add to that the fact that Prigozhin's troops were firing on Russian
units, not just the aircraft, and they shot down allegedly somewhere between six and eight Russian aircraft and killed pilots in the process.
But they also fired on Russian ground troops. And in addition to that, they surrounded the Russian southern headquarters in Rostov-on-Don. These are
not things that generate camaraderie and cohesion within a Military. And that's exactly what you need in a defensive alignment, which is what Russia
is trying to execute now against increasing momentum by the Ukrainian forces.
CHATTERLEY: They were also relatively unchallenged in the progress that they were making towards Moscow. In certain cases, they were being cheered
sort of questions that come into my mind. Where was the FSB? Where were the forces still loyal to the Kremlin, perhaps trying to dissuade them?
And what can it mean for morale that they were being welcomed along their way, in light of the accusations that they throw at the Defense Ministry as
well in the suggestion that this was some kind of false war, to your point about the implications that this has on the battlefield, just in terms of
morale? Surely it's potent.
HERTLING: Yes, it certainly is. And you bring up a point that I was trying to digest all weekend long. Why are they not being stopped? There was not
even a hiccup or a speed bump along the road to Rostov and then along the road to -- on the road to Moscow. There were no active units attempting to
They were not stopped by the Russian border Police, just like some of the other Russian insurgents that attacked in Belgorod and Kursk and Smolensk
earlier in the month. So it tells me first of all, that Russia is very weak along their border. Secondly, commanders along the way don't know how
Russian commanders, don't know what to do, unless they are given precise orders to stop either an Insurrection, a mutiny or a potential coup,
whatever we want to call this thing.
So it just it boggles the imagination to have Military commanders working for the government not doing anything against again, a mutineer who the
President got on TV and said this guy is a criminal, and he should be stopped and other commanders were saying don't do this. And oh, by the way,
at the same time Prigozhin is killing fellow Russians.
It just doesn't make sense. As Nick so eloquently said, there are so many questions to this. We can't we in the West can't wrap our hands around it,
because it is such a description of a dysfunctional military. But also a dysfunctional government that seems to be breaking down into clans as
opposed to a Unified Security Force.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, there's much we don't understand. But there's certainly valuable information being gleaned in much of what took place, I think,
Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling there, General thank you so much for your wisdom. OK, straight ahead, Russian riddles and global risks.
Our coverage of the fallout from the Wagner rebellion continues after this. We'll also be hearing from the Foreign Minister and President Elect of
Latvia, who is in Luxembourg for high level talks. That's next.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to "First Move", EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Luxembourg today their first chance to respond as a group to the weekend's
events in Russia, Countries today agreeing to an additional $3.8 billion in terms of aid and support to Ukraine.
All the nations also assess their military deployments Germany saying it will dispatch 4000 soldiers to Lithuania to strengthen the Eastern Flank of
NATO. And joining us now Edgars Rinkevics, Latvia's a Foreign Minister and President-Elect and its attending today's talks in Luxembourg.
Foreign Minister, great to have you on the show, sir, thank you for joining us, we appreciate you are busy. Can I ask what was discussed and what your
conclusions were on the events that took place in Russia this weekend?
EDGARS RINKEVICS, LATVIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT: Well, first of all, thank you for having me. And indeed, it has been quite a weekend for everyone. And
today as the European Union foreign council met, we discuss the situation as it unfolds. I think that we cannot jump into conclusions.
One of Brian Sicknick is that Mr. Putin appears to be very much weakened. But also we are of unanimous opinion that we need to double down on our
support for Ukraine. We need to actually keep pushing Russia and providing decisions that are related to more sanctions on Russia.
And also we are discussing actually, whereabouts of the founder of -- , Mr. Prigozhin, who actually by some reports, could be in Belarus. And you know,
for my country that we are that is neighboring both Russia and Belarus. This is not very welcome news. So we also believe that we need to assess
the situation and maybe also to push for additional sanctions against us.
CHATTERLEY: We'll talk about that in a moment. But I want to pick up on the point that you said that Russian President Vladimir Putin does appear to be
weakened, how much weakened? Have you got any assessment -- ?
RINKEVICS: I think that --
RINKEVICS: Since this is something that we will see in coming days and weeks, actually, there is a lot of contradictory information coming out of
Moscow like there is not going to be any criminal charges usually the fighters of Wagner group and Mr. Prigozhin and then no charges have not
I think that also there is a big question about what is going to happen is the current Minister of Defense and Chief of General Staff. So I think it's
a bit too early to call any conclusion at this point. But we decided to continue to assess the situation and to see how much damage this situation
has done to the Russian leadership at this point.
CHATTERLEY: I know it's difficult to say at this moment, as you said, amid so much uncertainty, but it is also your job to prepare. Was there
discussion? Are preparations being made for the collapse of the Russian government?
RINKEVICS: Well, Putin said that, today, we were discussing any definite plans. But I think that what has happened over the weekend, actually, is
something that we need now to look into the kinds of scenarios that probably one could not imagine couple of days ago, one certain scenario
that could be a sudden collapse of the current regime.
Some kind of civil war, we're actually and we also cannot exclude that at some point, Mr. Putin tries to, let's say, strengthen his power and to try
to put more restrictive measures in place and what impressions could follow. So I do believe that at this point, both the European Union and
also NATO should prepare for all kinds of eventualities, also the one that you just mentioned.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, can you expand on the prospect and the concern that was shared, perhaps at this meeting on whether in order to consolidate power to
look like he remains in a position of strength that actually, this means deterioration on the battlefield in Ukraine that actually results in worse
RINKEVICS: It is very difficult for us now to understand what is happening in Moscow and what is happening, let's say in those discussions among top
Russian leadership. Apparently, the battlefield was not so much impacted during that meeting at that we just saw they were still missile strikes
against Ukrainian cities.
So some things appear to be like war, as it is since February last year, on the other hand, is absolutely clear that Ukraine needs more support, more
ammunition, everything in order to be prepared also to the kind of some attack by Russians, the attacker that President Putin simply trying to get
information that he is fully in control and get an impression.
But let's say he's still very powerful leader who is able to come on his troops. And this was just a small episode. So I think that we should be
prepared ourselves for this. And we need to continue arming Ukraine, reservists in --
CHATTERLEY: You mentioned the prospect of further sanctions on Russia, what may they look like, Foreign Minister? And can we compare the economic
pressure that those sanctions have imposed on the Russian economy to the challenges that we saw this weekend is this actually a far bigger threat to
what we saw this weekend than any amount of economic pressure actually, that the EU nations in particular have imposed on Russia?
RINKEVICS: OK, for all or suddenly Russia in belongs? That is just one possibility. But I would not speculate there because what we have seen that
this situation was resolved quite quickly at this point. But if there is this kind of scenario, of course, the neighboring countries, the whole
Europe needs to be prepared to the possibility of privatizing armies, controlling parts of Russia.
There is a big question about nuclear weapons. There are so many issues that we need to reassess our readiness and actually to put more into
planning process on preparation that probably ever before, second about those sanctions, we just adopted as the EU, the so called elevens package.
Now, the stance of Latvia has always been that we need to continue applying pressure. But we also want to say that they are closing loopholes, but they
are also addressing circumvention of sanctions by certain countries. So, still there are many things how to make what we have done already more
So, preparing for all kinds of neutralities, those are made on -- that's number one number two, its more pressure on Russia. And let me also remind
about Belarus. And third, definitely is continuing the sport to Ukraine, because to some extent, if Ukraine is successful, that also is going to
change the dynamic in Russia and hopefully to the more positive way.
CHATTERLEY: What we heard from the NATO Secretary General, finally Foreign Minister this morning was that what we saw this weekend demonstrates the
fragility of the Russian regime. But he also said it's not for NATO to interfere in this. How concerned are you that President Putin now uses that
and suggests that this mutiny was in some way, led financed encouraged by the West by NATO members? And what would be your response to that?
RINKEVICS: Well, that's complete nonsense. It was not led by NATO or any Western nation. Look, Mr. Prigozhin is not let's say, the force of the good
fighting the force of evil. On the contrary, two evils were fighting each other. And we have, from the very beginning said that this is an internal
matter of the Russian Federation.
And that's the way how it actually developed, saying that no NATO panel in his wildest dreams could kind of be able to produce such kind of a plan to
materialize. And the fact that nobody and I believe even in Moscow, there are not many people who really understand what is happening through the
This has been unexpected to some extent, to some extent, of course, listening to what he said, Prigozhin has been saying for some time about
Russian defense leadership and so on. So I would say that, yes, indeed, Russian propaganda would try to use this against NATO.
But NATO, the rest or the European Union has nothing to do with that. And I do believe that we were correct, at the very beginning saying this is
internal method of Russia. Because of the result for the time being, but what we really need to be prepared as defensive reliance, but there could
be all kinds of scenarios, including some of which we have just discussed.
CHATTERLEY: Sir, great to have you on the show. I'll let you go. I know you have a busy day still ahead.
RINKEVICS: Thank you very much.
CHATTERLEY: Thank you, sir. Edgars Rinkevics, there, Latvian Foreign Minister and President-elect, thank you once again, sir, we're back after
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to "First Move". Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying Moscow is investigating whether "Western intelligence
services were involved in the Wagner events over the weekend". It comes after the Kremlin released a video showing President Putin giving his
speech to a youth industrial forum in which he made no mention of this weekend's mutiny.
It's not clear of course, when or where it was filmed. In Moscow, all security restrictions imposed as the rebellion unfolded have also now been
lifted. And U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying the Wagner events show cracks in Putin's rule.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: This is just an added chapter to a very, very bad book that Putin has written for Russia. But what's so
striking about it is its internal. The fact that you have from within, someone directly questioning Putin's authority, directly questioning the
premises that upon which he launched this aggression against Ukraine, that in and of itself is something very, very powerful. It adds cracks, where
those go, when they get there, too soon to say, but it clearly raises new questions that Putin has to deal with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Nic Robertson joins us now. Nic, it is an added chapter in the Russian saga. But one can't help but believe that the chapter is not yet
over. For two reasons, one, because we've not heard from President Putin yet, nor have we heard from the Wagner boss either who's the more important
individual at this moment to hear from.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Putin, and in a way we have heard from Putin the fact where he is not sort of upfront leading,
leading everything that's to be said about the situation right now is indicative of his style of leadership. Look, his pushed out to Lukashenko,
the Belarusian President, the tough job; I will have sort of handling the negotiations with Prigozhin.
But more importantly, it's sort of just pushed off having to deal with any outfall of whatever Prigozhin does next, because it becomes Lukashenko's
responsibility because it's going to be in Belarusian. I think also, you know, Putin today, or rather; the Kremlin has put out the prime minister to
speak about the situation, the importance of unity, importance and moving forward.
So there is messaging really from the Kremlin. You know, the fact we've seen Putin on TV, the fact that we've seen the defense minister on TV, we
don't know when they were shot. It didn't tell us anything about what they're thinking today. They're showing they're still around.
They're pushing off the responsibility of holding the narrative, the negative and the positive. And mostly, it's been negative over the weekend.
They've pushed off the responsibility of that on to others. So yes, Putin, I mean, Putin is very much there behind the scenes pulling the strings and
his message is very clearly this.
Nothing to see here moving on, we're dealing with it. Something happened, we're in control. Let's focus forward the war in Ukraine. And that message,
of course, you mentioned coming from the foreign minister.
Well, it might be all our enemies. And the prime minister mentioned this too, all our enemies outside in the West ganging up on us. That's the
Kremlin message. And that's Putin behind the scenes pulling the strings saying that.
CHATTERLEY: I think one of the key questions here is don't underestimate President Putin's ability to turn this to his advantage. Is that the
direction you think they take them, we see as a reinforcing of that message that perhaps it was Western interference that helped fuel this and now it's
ROBERTSON: He'll try anyway to use this to his advantage, but the reality is, and this is a reality that he'll understand that the counter war
narrative that he let fester in the public domain, because he allowed Prigozhin to continue.
And worse, allowed this insurrection, to get onto the streets and, and have instability for Russians in a way that they don't expect their leader
President Putin to do. Because they expect him, expect him to be a tough guy and expect him to keep his inner circle in line, particularly people
like Prigozhin in line.
So, you know, for Putin at the moment, he knows that he's weakened by this. So yes, he'll need to turn everything to his advantage, but I don't think
he's going to be able to walk away from this. As a Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, there are cracks, how long they take to run their
course and where they end up isn't clear. But for Putin knows this too.
CHATTERLEY: The other reality that one can't escape is that according to my conversation with General Hurtling earlier 25 to 40,000, arguably rogue,
Wagner troops now that have to be incorporated into the Russian army, no simple feat, no one really knows where the loyalty of those troops lie, or
who's in charge of them.
ROBERTSON: Yes, I think gaining their loyalty is going to be something that, something that the military can do that the system in Russia can
does. Prigozhin was their protector. And if he's out of the country, and they're not with him, and I don't see Russia, allowing them to join him in
If they are left to their own devices, with no one to protect them, they're going to have to do what the next tough guy out the line tells him to do.
And then its tough guy out the line is the defense ministry or that the intelligence service is knocking on their door saying, signs that paper,
sign you up to the military, or stand down and go home and be silent, or faces charges.
And those are the kinds of levers that the government uses on a day to day basis with Russian citizens, which is all they're going to be now. And
they're going to be open to the vagaries of pressure of arm twisting and of what a dictatorship does to get what it wants.
Would they be an effective fighting force in the front line? That's another story and it's a very important story for Russia. Will they be trusted if
they're put in there, with their comrades in arms, irregular Russian troops that they're fighting side by side with. That's an open question.
Would they even be committed to the fight if they were in the fight? That's an open question, but about controlling them? I think they can be
CHATTERLEY: Yes, the king is dead long live the king, but to your question about the ability to ultimately control them doesn't sound like a
convincing fighting force to me. Nic Robertson, thank you, CNN's International Diplomatic Editor there.
OK. We're also getting details about President Joe Biden's reaction to the Insurrection in Russia. The U.S. president spoke with the leaders of
Germany, France, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in the hours following the events. According to people familiar with his message, it was to keep the
temperature low and let events in Russia play out.
President Biden stressed the importance of deflecting any Russian attempt to accuse the west of interference. Kevin Liptak joins us now, Kevin, and
that's the key.
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, and it really is. And I think that is best illustrated in what we've been hearing from the Russian
foreign minister this morning. He told Russia today that this was a western intelligence plot.
And that is the very reason that when President Biden got on the phone over the weekend with his counterparts, his message was really to keep the
temperature down and ensure that Russia does not have some kind of pretext to claim that this was a western plot or a NATO plot.
And in the interview, I think it was interesting Lavrov talked about this conversation that he had with the American Ambassador in Moscow, Lynne
Tracy, and she reiterated this message that this was a Russian affair, and that the U.S. wasn't getting involved.
And I think that was an important directive from the White House from Washington to ensure that this doesn't become something that Putin is able
to claim was orchestrated by the West, which is a playbook that he has used over and over again.
And so I think this morning, as President Biden is waking up here at the White House, there are so many questions that remain a hanging over this
incident, incident. And I think that when you talk to American officials, really the overriding message is that they don't think that this is over.
And certainly you heard that from the Secretary of State Antony Blinken, over the weekend, when he did that round of interviews on Sunday shows,
really the view among American officials is that the Wagner Chief Prigozhin has not gone away. He is not going to go to Belarus and start selling
They do believe that this is an ongoing situation. They don't necessarily know how it's going to end. They did have intelligence leading up to this
event that he was making preparations to take these steps. They had been monitoring this power struggle between the Russian Ministry of Defense and
the Wagner Group dating back months.
And so certainly they do have some insight into what is happening there. But I do think that there are a lot of open questions that the National
Security Council and that American intelligence officials are still trying to work through today, so they can have a better handle on what is
happening going forward, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, the man formerly known as Putin shares could still be cooking up some trouble. I think that's the underlying message, Kevin,
great to have you, thank you, Kevin Liptak there. OK. Still to come, one of Moscow's allies is weighing in on the Wagner revolt, more from Hong Kong,
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back. Russia shoring up support from one of its closest allies Russia's deputy foreign minister met with his Chinese counterpart on
a trip to Beijing Sunday. Russian officials say the two spoke about the political upheaval after the short lived Insurrection. We're trying to
affirming the need to strengthen Russia's "Unity and prosperity". Anna Coren has more.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A day after the abrupt end to the Insurrection that threatening Vladimir Putin's grip on power. Russia's
greatest ally China broke its silence is showing support for the Kremlin. After closely watching the gravest challenge to Putin's 23 year rule unfold
over the weekend, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a strong statement online late Sunday evening, which read this is Russia's internal affair.
As Russia's friendly neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner of coordination for the new era, China supports Russia in maintaining national
stability and achieving developments and prosperity. It followed a visit to Beijing by Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko, who met with
China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang among other Chinese officials yesterday, where the two exchanged views on Sino-Russian relations and international
and regional issues of common concern.
A photo showed the pair smiling walking side by side. Russia claims this was part of scheduled consultations. The Chinese however, did not announce
the meeting beforehand. Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have developed a close personal rapport in recent years over their shared ambition to
challenge the U.S. led global order.
In February of last year, the two leaders declared a friendship with no limits, shortly before Putin launched his war on Ukraine. China has refused
to condemn the invasion, and has provided much needed diplomatic and economic support for Russia. It's also portrayed itself as a peace broker
between Russia and Ukraine.
But some analysts believe China will be closely monitoring the fallout of this aborted mutiny. Wen-Ti Sung, a political scientist with the Australian
National University says the Wagner Insurrection contradicts the narrative of Putin as a strong leader who enjoys full support of his people, and is
here for the long haul as China's global partner of choice.
If Putin's rule is unstable, then supporting him is bad business. On China's Twitter like platform Weibo, the Wagner Insurrection was a top
trending topic over the weekend. Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.
CHATTERLEY: Stay with CNN. Uncertainty in Russia over the weekend sent oil and wheat prices soaring, we'll bring you up-to-date with the market
movements as the situation evolves. That's next.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to "First Move". Have a take a look at what we're seeing across global markets. Investors clearly now grappling with fresh
geopolitical uncertainties after this weekend's dramatic events in Russia, after a cautious pre-market the firmer session to start the week at least
for now, all this after a losing week in fact for the major averages in the past week.
The NASDAQ is now posting its first weekly loss in some two months. In the currency markets, the Russian ruble fell to its lowest level in 15 months
against the U.S. dollar earlier. It's now recovered much of those losses, but as you can see still under a bit of pressure.
This hour volatility too in the energy markets and this is where we really need to focus. Oil prices rising more than 1 percent earlier on Russian
uncertainties, it since pulled back from those levels, but remains higher at this hour. Natural gas, wheat prices also on the rise as Investors
assess the demand outlook.
Anna Stewart joins us now with all the details, Anna, good to have you with us. We saw immediate concern in the oil and gas market for all the efforts
at European diversification. It's still one global market. And if you supply or see supplies from Russia reduced, it's going to have an impact.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: If ever we needed a reminder of just how big a role Russia continues to play in terms of global commodities, this was it.
A snapshot of what political instability within Russia could mean for particularly energy markets. And we can show you where oil prices are now;
they've actually fallen back down there, a slightly elevated not as much as natural gas.
You know, Russia still produces 10 percent of the world's global oil demand. It is the second biggest oil exporter. Yes, there are price caps in
place to try and reduce how much money it can make. But it is back to you exporting as much oil as it did pre-invasion of Ukraine.
You can also see those price moves in terms of the natural gas and then look at those wheat prices still actually elevated this morning. What was
so interesting actually was the -- region plays a huge role in terms of Russian wheat. It's one of the biggest wheat producing region and Russia is
the biggest wheat exporter in the world.
That region also has a very key port. And so, when you see any kind of political instability in Russia, and particularly in certain regions,
you're going to see an impact in terms of prices. Now, this insurrection was short lived, it was over before markets opened on Monday.
But it certainly gives you an idea of what we could see. And what I think investors will be watching out for because any kind of cracks in the
political leadership in the Kremlin will have huge ramifications for commodities and for global economy, for inflation all around the world and
for how much we are all paying at the till, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, connecting the economic dots there. The first thing I thought about actually was that Black Sea Grain Deal, we still not seen
that extended. So it's no surprise to me that wheat prices remain high if this actually lessens the chances that that gets continued.
Anna, great to have you with us and a cameo there from Nic Robertson behind you, thank you for joining us there from London. And that's it from the
show. If you've missed any of our interviews today, they'll be on my Twitter and Instagram pages. You can search for @jchatterleycnn. Stay with
CNN now, for more coverage of the revolt in Russia this weekend. I'll see you tomorrow.