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Week in Russia-Ukraine: Wagner mutiny rattles Moscow, as counteroffensive creeps along

A Ukrainian serviceman of the 3rd Assault Brigade prepares to fire a mortar toward Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday.
Alex Babenko
/
AP
A Ukrainian serviceman of the 3rd Assault Brigade prepares to fire a mortar toward Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday.

Here's a look ahead and a roundup of key developments from the past week.

What to watch

Eyes are on Russian President Vladimir Putin, Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Wagner mercenary group one week after an attempted mutiny against the Defense Ministry. Plenty of questions remain. Among them: Where is Prigozhin now? Will Wagner fighters join the Russian military or move to Belarus? Will the group stop recruiting?

Family and friends of American reporter Evan Gershkovich are anxious for news of how he's holding up in Russian jail after the U.S. ambassador to Russia was granted access to him on Monday following weeks of requests.

On Thursday, Turkey and Sweden are expected to hold talks in Brussels on the Swedish bid to join NATO.

On Friday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is due to give a preview of next week's summit of the alliance in Lithuania.

Protests and events against war and NATO expansion are also expected in Brussels.

What happened last week

President Putin tried to restore calm and control after the rebellion by Wagner mercenary fighters he has relied on for conflicts in Ukraine and other countries. In a speech, he thanked the military and security services, saying "you have stopped a civil war." Putin said some Russian pilots were killed. He did not mention the name of Yevgeny Prigozhin, who had launched the armed march.

The ruble fell to its lowest level against the dollar in more than a year as concerns festered over Russia's political and economic stability.

President Biden said the U.S. and NATO were not involved in the mutiny attempt in Russia. CIA Director William Burns also spoke with his Russian counterpart to assure him the U.S. had no part in the events, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Russia's infamous online troll factory shut down, one of several media assets belonging to Prigozhin that closed following his mutiny attempt. Online trolls at his Internet Research Agency were accused of interference in U.S. elections, anti-Ukraine propaganda and other information warfare around the world.

Russia arrested a top commander in its war on Ukraine, days after the Wagner uprising set off widespread speculation about loyalty and schisms within Moscow's leadership.

Ukrainian prosecutors charged three people for allegedly deporting orphans from Kherson. The war crime charges, against a Russian politician and two suspected Ukrainian collaborators, follow the launch of a broader International Criminal Court case into Russia's removal of Ukrainian children.

A Russian missile hit a pizza restaurant in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 11 people, including three children, and injuring more than 50 people, Ukrainian officials said.

Ukraine liberated about 10 square miles in the south and 3.5 square miles in the east from Russian forces over the past week, the Ukrainian deputy defense minister said. A military spokesman said Ukrainian snipers entered the town of Bakhmut.

In-depth

There's a glitch in the Russian matrix

CIA Director Burns says the Wagner uprising's fallout "will play out for some time"

Not your typical army: How the Wagner Group operates

Ukraine monitors the fallout from the Wagner Group's failed revolt in Russia

What's next for Putin's rule and the war in Ukraine

Putin insists Russia is united after the Wagner Group uprising, vows to uphold deal

On State of Ukraine podcast: One key person in ending the uprising in Russia

On Here & Now: What to know about how Putin is handling the divisions among Russia's national security apparatus

Special report

Russia's war in Ukraine is changing the world: See our report on its ripple effects in all corners of the globe.

Earlier developments

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR's coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR's State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Alex Leff is a digital editor on NPR's International Desk, helping oversee coverage from journalists around the world for its growing Internet audience. He was previously a senior editor at GlobalPost and PRI, where he wrote stories and edited the work of international correspondents.