Russia aims to regulate Wagner as Ukraine claims battlefield gains

In short: No. Western officials told CNN over the weekend that while they were monitoring the situation and understood the severity of the challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authority, it did not fundamentally change the objectives of Ukraine’s Western allies.

There are, of course, many unanswered questions as to exactly what happened and where it leaves Putin. But for the West – especially the NATO allies – the facts and assumptions that drive their Ukraine strategy have not changed.

First, Putin is still in power and still has objectives that are unpalatable to the Ukrainian government, which means that they are unpalatable to the Western allies of Ukraine. There is no assumption that a chastened Putin will suddenly become a partner that can be trusted to negotiate peace. There is no sense that Putin’s attitude to the West will soften. There is no belief that even if Putin had a sudden change of heart that he wouldn’t continue to act as a belligerent as soon as an opportunity presented itself.

Second, even if the insurrection had led to some kind of change at the top of Russia’s government, the people who toppled Putin would have been equally committed Russian nationalists who have been willing to commit war crimes in this war.

At the time of writing, no major Western sources are presenting evidence that Russia’s hectic weekend has presented weaknesses that Ukraine can specifically exploit in its counteroffensive against Russia. Sources specifically highlighted that even if events in Russia do create opportunities, Ukrainian forces will still face deeply-bedded Russian resistance. And there is concern that a wounded Putin may strike back even harder.

That could all change in the coming hours if such evidence comes to light. But it’s always worth keeping in mind that diplomacy and international relations tend to move at a slower pace than breaking news.