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The week in Ukraine: When Prigozhin turned Wagner's tanks on Russia

Members of the Wagner Group sit atop of a tank in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on Saturday. President Vladimir Putin said an armed mutiny by Wagner mercenaries was a "stab in the back" and that the group's chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, had betrayed Russia. Prigozhin later called off his group's action and the Kremlin said he would go to Belarus.
AFP via Getty Images
Members of the Wagner Group sit atop of a tank in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on Saturday. President Vladimir Putin said an armed mutiny by Wagner mercenaries was a "stab in the back" and that the group's chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, had betrayed Russia. Prigozhin later called off his group's action and the Kremlin said he would go to Belarus.

Updated June 26, 2023 at 3:57 PM ET

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

What to watch

What will become of Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner Group mercenaries who marched into Russia on Saturday? How will their aborted mutiny affect the war in Ukraine? These are some of the many questions swirling after a bewildering weekend of developments in Russia. The Kremlin said Prigozhin would go to Belarus without charges. Then on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wagner fighters and commanders who were not involved can "sign a contract with the Ministry of Defense or move to Belarus." Prigozhin also issued a statement Monday, insisting his group's action was not a coup, but instead was a protest of alleged plans to destroy Wagner and draw its fighters into the Russian military.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg visits Lithuania on Monday and Tuesday in preparation for an upcoming NATO summit there. On Wednesday, Stoltenberg is due to hold talks with Estonia's prime minister.

What happened

Yevgeny Prigozhin led his Wagner Group mercenaries in a short-lived mutiny in Russia. Prigozhin called for the ouster of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, accusing him of trying to destroy Wagner and of ordering a deadly missile strike against the group in Ukraine, where the mercenaries are fighting on Russia's behalf. Wagner forces took control of a southern Russian city and went on to march toward Moscow. But Prigozhin called off the rebellion when the Kremlin said he would receive amnesty and relocate to Belarus.

Ukraine said it was making slow progress in its counteroffensive this month, so far taking nine villages back from Russian forces. Russia says it has been foiling Ukraine's attacks. British military officials estimate both sides are suffering high casualties.

Allies pledged several billion dollars of non-military aid to Ukraine, including the U.S. announcing $1.3 billion, for rebuilding the country last Wednesday. And on Monday, the European Union's foreign policy chief said the bloc will donate about $3.8 billion in military aid for Ukraine.

The Pentagon said it miscalculated how much weaponry it sent to Ukraine by $6.2 billion over the actual value, a sum a spokesperson said would go toward future weapons drawdowns.

The United Nations put Russian forces on its list of shame for killing 136 children in Ukraine last year, as well as injuring hundreds more kids and attacking schools.

The situation at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is "extremely fragile" after the launch of the Ukrainian counteroffensive and the loss of the Kakhovka Reservoir, Rafael Mariano Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said after visiting the plant.

A group of African leaders traveled to Ukraine and Russia on what they described as a "peace mission," but their meetings with leaders of both countries ended without any visible progress.

Russian missiles rained down on the Ukrainian president's hometown on June 13, killing 11 people.

In-depth

The mutiny in Russia may be over. But it still damages Putin.

After its march toward Moscow, what's next for Russia's Wagner Group?

Putin accuses Wagner Group of a treasonous "military uprising" in Russia.

Ukraine's troops long planned their move on Russian forces. Then came the flood.

Ukraine's counteroffensive against Russia appears to produce limited gains so far.

Up past curfew, the party lasts all night at a basement dance club in Ukraine.

How Ukraine created an "army of drones" to take on Russia.

From Beijing to London, Blinken pushes for Ukraine peace deal and recovery.

Poland's new Russian influence law gets flak as an attack on democracy.

European lawmakers want Ukraine to have a pathway to NATO membership.

Elizabeth Gilbert halts release of a new book after outcry over its Russian setting.

On the State of Ukraine podcast: One of Ukraine's most effective weapons in the war can be purchased on the internet.

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.