Vladimir Putin has held secret talks in the Kremlin with the warlord who organized an armed mutiny against his regime, according to Western intelligence sources.
An unannounced session took place on July 1, a week after the revolt by Yevgeny Prigozhin and his army of Wagner mercenaries, according to the French publication Libération, citing secret service sources.
Since the alleged meeting, Prigozhin appears to remain in Russia rather than being forced into exile in neighboring Belarus, as his fate previously seemed to have been.
The claims about a sensational face-off between Putin and Prigozhin come amid a chilling separate theory that Wagner’s boss may be tasked with using his armed force to assassinate Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and “bring his head” to the Kremlin.
Prigozhin may try to carry out “some great atrocity for the benefit of Russia” to fight his way back to the Putin regime after his armed revolt aimed at ousting Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Defense Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov. said one from Moscow. most respected publishers, Nobel Prize winner Dmitry Muratov.
Vladimir Putin (left) and Yevgeny Prigozhin are pictured together during a tour of Prigozhin’s Concord food processing factory.
Prigozhin may try to carry out “some big atrocity for the benefit of Russia” to win back from Putin’s regime, according to Dmitry Muratov.
“He must do something to take the flavor out of what Putin called ‘a stab in the back of Russia,'” Muratov said.
Russia’s rebel mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin has walked free from prosecution for his armed mutiny on June 24.
Members of the Wagner Group military company guard an area as others load their tank onto a truck on a street in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2023.
Prigozhin may attempt to assassinate Volodymyr Zelensky (pictured) to curry favor with the Kremlin, it has been claimed
‘Believe [Yevgeny Prigozhin] can not ask for forgiveness [from Putin]’ Muratov, who runs the pioneering investigative news outlet Novaya Gazeta, told the YouTube show Zhivoy Gvozd.
But he can commit some great atrocity for the benefit of Russia.
‘He may try to stage an assassination attempt on [Volodymyr] Zelensky and bring the head of the President of Ukraine to the Kremlin.
“He must do something to take the flavor out of what Putin called ‘a stab in the back of Russia’.”
Following the abortive armed riot on June 24, Putin quickly withdrew threats to charge Prigozhin with treason and lead an insurrection.
But the Wagner leader and some 8,000 of his force were supposed to go to Belarus under the terms of an armistice agreement brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Instead, it is widely believed that Prigozhin remained in Russia, and his Wagner force evidently remains intact.
General Viktor Zolotov, head of the Russian national guard, and Sergei Naryshkin, head of the Russian foreign intelligence agency SVR, attended the secret session with Prigozhin along with senior Wagner commanders, according to Libération.
Putin’s spokesman said last week that the Kremlin had “neither the ability nor the desire” to track down Prigozhin, who rose to fame organizing banquets and catering contracts for the Russian dictator, before setting up “troll” farms. propagandists and their private army.
NATO leader Jens Stoltenberg revealed that “we closely monitor where Wagner’s soldiers are moving, and also where [Prigozhin] It is moving’.
There were no signs of a big move into Belarus, he said.
Prigozhin photographed entering the Kremlin with Putin
The Wagner leader and some 8,000 of his force were supposed to go to Belarus under the terms of an armistice agreement brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (pictured)
Tents are seen at a newly built camp on a site formerly used by the Belarusian army that could house up to 5000 Wagner soldiers, on July 7, 2023, 90 kilometers (approximately 55 miles) southeast of Minsk, in the Asipovichy district, Belarus.
‘I won’t go into details, but we have seen some preparations for hosting large groups of Wagner soldiers in Belarus. Until now we have not seen so many of them going to Belarus.’
He said that Prigozhin had been ‘moving around a bit’, without saying where.
Meanwhile, Lukashenko, who brokered the exile deal to stop the armed riot, denied that Prigozhin was in Belarus.
He is in Saint Petersburg. It is not on the territory of Belarus, ”she said.
Camps for Wagner mercenaries have been set up, but they are empty, and Lukashenko will hold talks with Putin soon about Wagner’s situation.
“One should not lose such a unit despite all the subtle details,” said Lukashenko, who later noted that Wagner was a superior fighting force to the regular Russian army.
‘I wish the whole army would fight as well as these guys. But these are the problems of the Russian Federation and President Putin.”
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said that the Russian security services “have the ability to detain Prigozhin or restrict his movements in Russia” but were clearly not doing so.
His ‘ability to operate freely in Russia suggests that Prigozhin is still protected by some security guarantees and/or that the Kremlin continues to prioritize undermining his reputation in Russia over attacking him. [him] physically or legally.’
“Putin can’t just get rid of him, which obviously shows the leader’s weakness. They are too intertwined financially and militarily to get rid of it right away,” said Theresa Fallon, director of the Brussels-based Center for Russia, Europe and Asia Studies, as quoted by The Wall Street Journal.