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US Knew About Wagner Coup Attempt In Russia

Intelligence officials obtained precise information about Prigozhin's plans but kept it secret, frustrating NATO allies.

U.S. intelligence officials had reportedly obtained precise information about Wagner’s recent coup attempt in Russia but decided to keep it secret. 

According to CNN sources familiar with the matter, the U.S. knew about Wagner group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s plans that led up to his brief rebellion against the country’s top leadership. 

WASHINGTON DC, UNITED STATES – JUNE 26: US President Joe Biden attends the Broadband Event at the White House in Washington D.C., United States on June 26, 2023. The White House denied any association with the Wagner Group. (Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) 

The White House had denied any knowledge of the Wagner Group’s plan.

“We’re going to keep assessing the fallout of this weekend’s events and the implications from Russia and Ukraine,” said President Joe Biden about the Wagner Group. “But it’s still too early to reach a definitive conclusion about where this is going.”

Biden claimed that the U.S. had nothing to do with the coup set up by Pirgozhin.

However, Washington held the intelligence so closely and shared it only with select allies, including senior U.K. government officials, and not at the broader NATO level, the report added. 

Members of NATO had expressed frustration that the intelligence was not shared with the rest of the organization.

The precise timing of Prigozhin’s attack wasn’t immediately clear, as per the sources. However, it appears that he decided to proceed with his plan after a June 10 announcement by Russia’s Ministry of Defense that stated that all private military companies, including Wagner, would be compelled to enter contracts with Russia’s military starting in July. 

“It was an extremely tight hold,” said one of the sources.

As per the report, the information was kept so secretive that only the most senior administration officials and the Congress ‘Gang of Eight’ members were briefed. 

NATO officials voiced their frustration that the intelligence was not shared with the allies, prompting Biden to take action in order to ease tensions. Following the unsuccessful rebellion, Biden conversed with key allies, including the leaders of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Canada, alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to address the situation and foster calm.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday made his first on-camera remarks after Wagner Group’s short-lived rebellion. “Any kind of blackmail is doomed to failure,” Putin said in the video, slamming the coup attempt. 

“On Sunday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson referred to the uprising as Russia’s ‘internal affair’ and added: “As Russia’s friendly neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner of coordination for the new era, China supports Russia in maintaining national stability and achieving development and prosperity,” said the Russian Defense Ministry in a statement.

Prigozhin was once known as “Putin’s chef” where he had moved up the ranks starting out a soldier.

“They were all happy when we passed through,” said Prigozhin. “Our march of justice has shed light on so many things we’ve talked about before: grave security breaches across the country. We blocked all military units and airfields that were on our way.”

Produced in association with Benzinga

Edited by Alberto Arellano and Joseph Hammond

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