WATCH: No involvement by U.S., NATO, in Russian mercenary revolt, Biden says

The United States and NATO had no involvement in a brief revolt in Russia by its mercenaries, the Wagner Group, President Joe Biden said from the White House on Monday.

“This was part of a struggle within [the] Russian system,” Biden said.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the Wagner Group, had been feuding with Russia’s military brass throughout the war in Ukraine, leading the mercenary leader to order his troops to seize a military headquarters in a southern Russian city and march toward Moscow. But, after less than 24 hours, Prigozhin ordered an about-face to avoid “shedding Russian blood.”

Biden said he had been in contact with allies over the weekend as the insurrection took place and wanted to give Russian President Vladimir Putin “no excuse to blame this on the West.”

“We made clear that we were not involved. We had nothing to do with it,” Biden said.

Biden was also in contact with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and assured him that regardless of events in Russia, the U.S. would continue to support Ukraine’s defense.

“No matter what happened in Russia, we in the United States would continue to support Ukraine’s defense and sovereignty and its territorial integrity,” Biden said.

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