Canada, NATO Allies Held Talks on ‘Possible Implications’ of Wagner Rebellion, Says Trudeau

Canada, NATO Allies Held Talks on ‘Possible Implications’ of Wagner Rebellion, Says Trudeau
Fighters of Wagner, a Russian private mercenary group, are seen atop of a tank while being deployed near the headquarters of the Southern Military District in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on June 24, 2023. (Stringer/Reuters)
Peter Wilson

Canada held discussions with its NATO allies about “possible implications” of the Russian Wagner mercenary group that advanced on Moscow over the weekend before abruptly halting its rebellious march shortly after, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“We had, obviously, very serious conversations about possible implications of the internal challenges Russia is facing,” Trudeau told reporters on June 26 in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland, where he is meeting with leaders of other Nordic countries like Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

Trudeau reiterated that the events in Russia regarding the Wagner uprising were “internal challenges” for Russia, but also said that “everyone has questions about what this actually means.”

“We don’t yet have a lot of answers,” the prime minister said. “And too much speculation right now I think could probably be extremely counterproductive.”

Trudeau said discussions with Canada’s allies focused on “possible challenges and possible consequences for our own security, for our people’s security, [and] for global stability.”

Russian mercenaries part of the Wagner private military organization launched an armed rebellion on June 23 to force a change at the helm of Russia’s military but agreed a day later to stop its fast advance toward Moscow after having seized a southern city.
The group’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said on June 24 that he had ordered his mercenaries to retreat to their field camps in Ukraine.
The brief rebellion sparked reactions from governments across the globe, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying that it shows “cracks emerging” in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power as the country’s invasion of Ukraine drags on.

“So much that is beneath the surface has now surfaced again in terms of questioning the premise for the war, in terms of questioning the conduct of the war, in terms of questioning what good this has actually done for Russia,” Blinken told ABC News on June 25.

Trudeau said on June 25 that he discussed the Wagner uprising with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. President Joe Biden, and also said the Canadian government was continuing to “monitor the evolving security situation in Russia.”

“We’ll keep in touch on this,” Trudeau said in a Twitter post about his meeting with Biden. “And we’ll continue to stand united in support of Ukraine.”

Tom Ozimek and Jack Phillips contributed to this report.