Armed confrontation between Russia and Wagner averted

The leader of the Russian private military firm Wagner Group has pulled out of a collision course with Russian forces in Moscow after announcing he was withdrawing his armed rebellion to avoid bloodshed among Russian people.

Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin announced the pullout overnight on Saturday. At the time the mercenary group had captured Russia's district military headquarters in the southern city of Rostov and had forces marching toward Moscow.

Wagner is a private military company that has been raising alarms globally with repeated fierce engagements in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, and the Central African Republic.

Prigozhin is now apparently heading to Belarus after an agreement brokered by the country's president Alexander Lukashenko.

The Kremlin indicated Prigozhin would leave Russia for Belarus, but his whereabouts are unknown as he has not given any updates.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has not made a public comment since the rebel fighters pulled back.

Russian state television said Putin would attend Russia's Security Council this week while the news agency of Belarus said Putin and Lukashenko spoke on Sunday, after several calls on Saturday.

The Wagner leader had called the rebellion a "march of justice," saying he intended to stop corruption and remove incompetent Russian commanders who he blamed for botching the war in Ukraine.

Putin calls mutiny treason

Putin on Saturday had said in an emergency television address that anyone who had taken up arms against the Russian military would be punished. He said, "We will protect our people and our statehood from any threats, including treason from the inside."

US Secretary of State: Cracks emerging

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the situation revealed cracks in Putin's regime.

Speaking to CBS News on Sunday, Blinken described Wagner's rebellion as "a direct challenge to Putin's authority," and said that Prigozhin "has raised profound questions about the very premises for Russia's aggression against Ukraine in the first place, saying that Ukraine or NATO did not pose a threat to Russia, which is part of Putin's narrative."

Blinken also spoke to ABC News about the situation in Russia on Sunday.

Blinken also said the invasion has made Russia "weaker" economically and militarily, with its global standing plummeting.

Zekenskyy: Putin regime weakness exposed

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released a video message on Sunday following the aborted rebellion in Russia.

Zelenskyy said he held talks over the phone with US President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and President Andrzej Duda of Poland. He said he expressed gratitude to each country for their support.

Zelenskyy released a video message on June 25.

During the talk with Biden, Zelenskyy said that "yesterday's events exposed the weakness of Putin's regime" and insisted the world pressure Russia "until international order is restored."

The White House said the two leaders "discussed Ukraine's ongoing counteroffensive," and added that President Biden assured "unwavering US support, including through continued security, economic, and humanitarian aid."

The Canadian Prime Minister took to Twitter to say, "Volodymyr, Canada is committed to standing with Ukraine and providing Ukrainians with the support they need."

Meanwhile, the British defense ministry said on Sunday that Ukrainian forces are improving their tactics as they go on the offensive to retake territory. It said that Ukraine has launched large-scale operations on three fronts in the south and east in the past few days. Attention is focused on how Ukraine can capitalize on the instability in Russia.

Expert says Wagner's role can quickly be filled by other firm

Professor Higashino Atsuko from the University of Tsukuba says Putin's weakness was revealed over the weekend, and his next steps are unclear.

She says it's hard to predict at this point whether he acts calmly or moves on to something extraordinary, including the use of military force or nuclear weapons.

She notes that it's possible Russia's relations with Africa and the Middle East will be impacted if Wagner's significant role in those areas shrinks. But Higashino adds that there are many other private military companies inside and outside Russia that could take Wagner's place in a short period of time.