(RepublicanDaily.org) – Wagner Group Private Military Company (PMC) staged an aborted coup June 23 and 24, taking control of the southern Russian city of Rostov and shaking up senior Russian military leadership. Reports now confirm that members of the American intelligence community briefed US officials about Prigozhin’s potential revolt as early as June 21.
Intelligence officials say they are not aware of Prigozhin’s overall aim but did have certain clues and information about his planned rebellion ahead of time. This included observations of the Wagner Group stockpiling ammunition and weapons in the leadup to Prigozhin’s sudden attack, however US intelligence officials say they were unsure how serious the Wagner chief was about his coup given his propensity for frequently making outlandish and threatening statements.
On Friday, June 23, Prigozhin accused Russian forces of deliberately striking Wagner field camps and killing 30 of his fighters. He mobilized mercenaries at this time to march deeper into Russian territory to restore control over what Prigozhin claimed was an out-of-control Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD), particularly defense chief Sergei Shoigu. On June 23 an estimated 8,000 Wagner troops headed north to the Russian capital of Moscow but turned around before reaching the city, agreeing to redeploy to the Middle East and Africa.
Prigozhin complied with conditions to go into exile in Belarus to avoid prosecution in a deal brokered by Belarussian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko. However, by Saturday afternoon Prigozhin ordered Wagner forces to turn around and back to fight for Russia in its ongoing war against Ukraine.
Responding to the apparent coup attempt, Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia’s increasing “weakness” is “obvious” and that Putin’s regime is in the process of collapse. Former CIA analyst Rebekah Koffler says Zelensky is wrong and the coup actually shows the opposite of what he claims.
According to Koffler the apparent coup was a typical “false flag” operation set up with Putin’s approval in order to humiliate and deceive NATO and the United States about the strength and unity of his military efforts in Ukraine. By allowing the fake and “staged” revolt, Koffler says, Putin consolidated his political power and can now brag about stopping a “civil war” and bringing Russia together against disloyalty and treason.
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