Russians, Ukrainians Move On

People reclaim Moscow streets after troops, roadblocks are removed
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2023 5:40 PM CDT
Russians Reclaim the Streets
An activist holds a flag with an image of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian words "For the Motherland, for the sovereignty, for the Putin" on Sunday near the Kremlin.   (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

With the troops withdrawn from the streets and roadblocks and checkpoints removed, Moscow returned to its summer Sunday rhythms, with people filling cafes and parks. Crews repaired highways leading to Moscow that had been torn up in panic to slow the armed force belonging to Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner Group, CBS News reports, as it advanced on the capital. Armored vehicles and troops had been placed at checkpoints on the city's southern edge, and 3,000 Chechen soldiers had been rushed early Saturday from the fight in Ukraine to Moscow. Few signs of that chaos remained Sunday, though Red Square was still closed to visitors.

Tanks tracks were still visible in Rostov-on-Don, the city Wagner had held until reaching an agreement with President Vladimir Putin. But residents seemed unfazed by the tense standoff. "It all ended perfectly well, thank God. With minimal casualties, I think," one man said. "Good job." The events changed his opinion of the Wagner troops, whom he said had been heroes to him. No longer, the man said: "It shouldn't have happened." In the Lipetsk region, a resident was unbothered by Wagner soldiers. "They did not disrupt anything," Milena Gorbunova said. "They stood calmly on the pavement and did not approach or talk to anyone."

Ukrainians had hoped Russia infighting would benefit their battle against the invasion. "Yesterday it was the main topic everywhere you were meeting people," Dasha Lytovchenko told the New York Times on Sunday in Kyiv. "I was completely engaged." The outcome was a letdown. "I felt like something important would happen," Lytovchenko said. A man sitting on a park bench felt the same way. He and his friends had "decided that the war was starting in Russia." But it was clear Sunday that nothing had changed. "It's a usual morning," he said. "A regular war morning in Ukraine." (More Russia rebellion stories.)

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