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Wagner chief Prigozhin planned mutiny in Russia since mid-June – Washington Post

Prigozhin, owner of the Wagner Group of mercenaries, putting on a mean face as he berates rivals in the Russian Defense Ministry. Screenshot from video
Wagner chief Prigozhin planned mutiny in Russia since mid-June – Washington Post

US intelligence learned in mid-June that the leader of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, Evgeny Prigozhin, was planning an “armed action” against the Russian defense establishment on the territory of Russia, the Washington Post reported.

The US intelligence had no information about the exact goals and timing of Evgeny Prigozhin’s plans until Wagner troops took over the Southern military command of Russia’s Armed Forces in Rostov-on-Don (southwestern Russia) and started their tank run toward the Russian capital Moscow on Friday and Saturday, anonymous US officials told the Washington Post.

Prigozhin’s rebellion exposed severe weaknesses in Kremlin and Russian Ministry of Defense – ISW

“There were enough signals to be able to tell the leadership that something was up. So I think they were ready for it,” one of the US officials said on the condition of anonymity.

According to unnamed US officials, the key reason for Prigozhin’s move was an order from the Russian Defense Ministry that all volunteer units must sign contracts with the government. Although the order did not mention Wagner Group by name, the implication meant a takeover of Prigozhin’s mercenaries, who had proven important to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian military officials also were monitoring Prigozhin’s moves. They believed that he might mobilize his forces against Moscow, but the timing of such mutiny was unclear, a senior Ukrainian official told the Washington Post.

Frontline report: Russia suffers record aircraft losses during Wagner mutiny

Within the last two weeks, US intelligence was concerned about whether Russia’s President Vladimir Putin would be ousted or remain in power. It was unclear how instability in Russia could affect the control of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, one of the anonymous US officials told the Washington Post.

“The instability that might result from a Russian ‘civil war’ was the key fear,” unnamed US officials said.

In addition to the White House, senior officials at the Pentagon, State Department, and Congress were briefed within the past two weeks on the intelligence related to Wagner’s rebellion, US officials told the Washington Post.

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