MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia on Friday scolded US President Joe Biden for expressing a lack of surprise that Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin had died in a plane crash and warned it was not for Washington appropriate to make such comments.
Biden said Wednesday he wasn’t surprised by the reports of Prigozhin’s death, adding that not much is happening in the country that President Vladimir Putin doesn’t stand behind.
“I’m not surprised,” Biden said. “There’s not much happening in Russia that Putin isn’t behind, but I don’t know enough to know the answer.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said such comments demonstrate Washington’s disregard for diplomacy.
“Nevertheless, in my opinion, it is not the job of the US President to speak about such tragic events of this kind,” Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the state news agency TASS.
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Putin on Thursday expressed his condolences to Prigozhin’s family, describing him as a talented businessman who knew how to look after his own interests and who, if asked, could contribute to the common cause.
But he also described Prigozhin as a flawed character who made some bad mistakes.
“I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the families of all the victims. It’s always a tragedy,” Putin said in a televised address during a meeting in the Kremlin with the Moscow-installed chief of Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.
“I have known Prigozhin for a very long time, since the early 1990s. He was a man with a difficult fate and he made serious mistakes in life.”
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge/Andrew Osborn)
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