Putin knew Wagner coup was coming for days but ‘paralysis’ gripped Kremlin
Vladimir Putin slams ‘treason’ from Wagner mercenary group
Vladimir Putin failed to prevent the Wagner Group’s attempted coup from starting last month, despite being given a tip-off about the mutiny days ahead of time, according to reports.
According to the Washington Post, the Russian leader had been given advanced warning – two or three days prior to the uprising – that there was a plot by Wagner warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin to overthrow him.
The publication cited intelligence assessments that it had been shown, which said: “Putin had time to take the decision to liquidate [the mutiny] and arrest the organisers.”
The unnamed European security official added: “Then when it began to happen, there was paralysis on all levels … There was absolute dismay and confusion. For a long time, they did not know how to react.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov batted back the claims as “nonsense” propagated by “people who have zero information”.
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Wagner mercenaries, used by Putin to wage war across the world as well as in Ukraine, took the border city of Rostov-on-Don and began to head for Moscow.
The hardened troops, many of whom had been recruited by chief Prigozhin from Russian prisons, were speeding towards the capital in an apparent attempt to depose Putin.
The uprising came after Prigozhin, once known as ‘Putin’s chef’, claimed that the Russian military’s top brass – Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov – ordered airstrikes on his private forces.
He demanded to meet with the military leaders or he would march on the capital.
Wagner forces were around 125 miles from the capital, before an agreement, brokered by Belarusian president Alexandr Lukashenko, saw the mercenaries stand down and Prigozhin exiled to Belarus.
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Prigozhin’s whereabouts since the failed coup have been subject to speculation.
However a video, geolocated by US broadcaster CNN appears to show the Wagner warlord greeting his troops in Belarus.
In the footage, the man, who appears to look a lot like Prigozhin, greets his men: “Welcome guys! I am happy to greet you all. Welcome to the Belarusian land! We fought with dignity! We have done a lot for Russia”.
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