Russia sent a government plane to Washington DC to bring a group of diplomats back to Moscow, days after the Wagner group mutiny was put down.
The State Department confirmed the plane’s landing and said it was a routine procedure, reminding Russia that it expects it to follow the same protocols for returning US diplomats.
But the move comes amid deep concern over this weekend’s insurgency led by Wagner’s leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, and will give officials in Moscow an opportunity to hear from returning diplomats how events were viewed. in United States.
The plane, an Ilyushin Il-96-300, took off from Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport at 10:05 a.m. Tuesday.
It flew a circuitous route, heading directly north to skirt EU airspace before crossing the Atlantic.
It landed at Washington DC Dulles Airport at 2:08 p.m., after an 11-hour journey.
This is the Russian government plane, an Ilyushin Il-96-300, which has been sent from Moscow to pick up diplomats in Washington DC. It landed in the US on Tuesday afternoon and remained on the runway at Dulles Airport on Tuesday night.
The plane flew a very unusual route, avoiding EU airspace. A standard flight path is shown with the dotted line
A State Department spokesperson confirmed the flight to i News.
“The United States government has allowed the Russian government to send a chartered flight to the United States to transport Russian diplomats whose assignments have ended to Russia.
“We also maintain strict reciprocity with Russia regarding special transport missions.”
Matthew Miller, the State Department spokesman, later told reporters: “In exchange for extending these courtesies, we expect Russia to keep transportation open for our diplomats and cargo to our embassy in Moscow.”
The aircraft has a capacity, when configured for the maximum number of seats, for 262 people.
It is not known how many embarked and how many disembarked.
A former US intelligence agent told i News that the plane may also contain intelligence agents, who may want to meet with their US counterparts.
The intelligence official, who spent decades identifying Russian agents for the US government, told the site that “if deemed appropriate,” Russian diplomats will schedule “high-level diplomatic meetings” with the US State Department. .us
“We’ll have to wait and see,” the former US asset said.
Vladimir Putin is seen on Tuesday during his meeting with officers of the Russian army and the secret services that prevented the Wagner invasion.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner of the military company Wagner Group
Members of the Wagner Group military company sit on a tank in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on Saturday, a day after taking the city. they left on sunday
The plane flew to Asia last week and landed in Delhi at the same time that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was being feted at the White House by Joe Biden.
India remains a crucial trading partner for Russia, but Modi’s visit was expected to reduce India’s dependence on Moscow for weapons, economic ties and technology.
He also intended to convince the Indian government to condemn the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.
India has so far avoided voting against Russia or criticizing Vladimir Putin since the invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.
The plane was also in Vietnam last week ahead of a planned visit by the head of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma.
Volodin Vyacheslav Victorovich was expected to be in Vietnam for the weekend but canceled his trip amid the Wagner uprising.
Putin is seen with Volodin Vyacheslav Victorovich, speaker of the State Duma, in 2017. The powerful politician was due to be in Vietnam this weekend, and the government plane was in Hanoi in the days before the aborted uprising.
Vietnam is dependent on Russia for much of its military equipment, and Russia has significant energy investments in Vietnam.
But the United States is trying to encourage international condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine. Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, was in Vietnam in April.
The dust over Prigozhin’s shock move to march across Russia towards Moscow has yet to settle.
The militia leader is now reportedly in exile in Belarus, with analysts saying it is remarkable that he managed to survive.
Putin is seen as severely weakened by the aborted uprising, but it is unclear how this will affect the Ukraine conflict.
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.