The president of Belarus touted his country’s “combat readiness” during the short-lived revolt staged by the Wagner Group.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told state news outlet Belta that the Wagner Group mercenaries’ mutiny attempt last week threatened the national security of the nation and demanded military preparedness.
“I gave all the orders to bring the army to full combat readiness,” Lukashenko told the outlet, according to translations from The Moscow Times.
“I won’t hide it, it was painful to watch the events taking place in southern Russia. I’m not the only one,” the president continued. “Many of our citizens took [these events] to heart. Because the Fatherland is one.”
Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin shocked the world this weekend when he turned his private military group against Russian forces while taking control of Russian military bases.
He relented on Saturday after Belarus held negotiations between the two sides.
“If Russia collapses, we will be left under the rubble, all of us will die,” Lukashenko added.
Last week, Prigozhin posted an 11-minute voice recording on social media outlining his reasons for going against Putin as his forces headed toward Moscow before an abrupt halt.
The march toward Moscow was intended to be a protest against the prosecution of the war in Ukraine and not aimed at regime change in Russia, he said, according to a Reuters translation.
The Kremlin said it made a deal in which the mercenary chief would move to Belarus, and he and his soldiers would receive amnesty.
Prior to his revolt, Prigozhin had criticized Russian military leaders, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, for failing to provide his troops with enough ammunition during the bloody battle of Bakhmut.
Prigozhin held back from directly criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin.
State Department spokesman Matt Miller said the conflict between Putin and his former ally is an internal Russian affair “in which the United States is not involved and will not the involved.” He added that the U.S. does not take a position as to who leads Russia.
“We want a Russia that is not invading its neighbors and not trying to violate the territorial sovereignty of its neighbors,” Miller said.
He noted that Wagner forces had committed numerous human rights violations and generally bring destruction and chaos in any country the group operates in.