According to CIA’s chief, Putin could seek vengeance on Wagner group leader Yevgeny Prighozin after he led a mutiny in Russia a month ago, exposing significant vulnerabilities in Putin’s power system.
CIA head William Burns explained during the Aspen Security Forum that Putin might seek revenge against Wagner group leader Mr Prigozhin in the future.
The CIA chief referred to this situation as a complicated dance between the parties involved.
Mr Prigozhin has been moving around and was recently seen in Minsk, Belarus, and Russia. Mr Burns believes that Putin may be trying to buy time to decide the best course of action concerning the Wagner group’s leader.
Despite the mutiny, the Wagner group remains valuable to Russia’s leadership, particularly in regions like Africa, Libya, and Syria. Thus, Putin may aim to separate the group from its leader.
Mr. Burns cautioned that Putin’s strategic revenge tendencies suggest he may seek further retribution against Mr. Prigozhin.
Earlier, US President Joe Biden had suggested a risk of poisoning for the Wagner boss, to which Mr Burns added that he wouldn’t fire his food taster if he were Prigozhin.
Controversies and challenges surrounding Wagner’s mutiny
The CIA had prior knowledge of the mutiny, and a senior Russian army general, Sergei Surovikin, who was aware of it in advance, is also facing limitations on his movement.
The mutiny marked the most direct challenge to Putin’s leadership, as it questioned the Kremlin’s justification for the war in Ukraine.
Mr Prigozhin, once a caterer for Putin, raised deeper questions in the Russian elite about Putin’s judgment and decision-making, especially regarding the invasion of Ukraine.
If Ukraine advances further on the battlefield, Mr. Prigozhin’s critique of the war could draw more attention.
The CIA head recognized Ukraine’s challenging counter-offensive against prepared Russian defenses but remained optimistic about progress.
Indications suggest Russia might stage a false flag, attacking shipping in the Black Sea and blaming it on the Ukrainians.