UK’s MI6 Chief Says Putin Cut a Deal to End Wagner Revolt

The head of Britain’s intelligence company, MI6, stated on Wednesday that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had “cut a deal” with Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the founding father of the Wagner mercenary group, throughout Mr. Prigozhin’s failed revolt final month.

The feedback from Richard Moore, the pinnacle of MI6, in a uncommon speech in Prague at an event hosted by Politico, supply insights from a Western intelligence official into the gorgeous however short-lived revolt by Mr. Prigozhin final month.

The Wagner chief staged a mutiny towards Russia’s army final month, which noticed his mercenary forces marching towards the capital earlier than abruptly halting. More than two weeks later, the Kremlin disclosed that Mr. Prigozhin and different Wagner leaders had met with Mr. Putin for 3 hours within the days after the revolt ended.

“I think he probably feels under some pressure,” Mr. Moore stated of Mr. Putin, talking on the British ambassador’s residence within the Czech capital. “Prigozhin was his creature, utterly created by Putin, and yet he turned on him. He really didn’t fight back against Prigozhin; he cut a deal to save his skin using the good offices of the leader of Belarus.”

Mr. Moore additionally mirrored on the head-spinning nature of the Wagner forces’ sudden march towards Moscow, the swiftness with which they stopped, and Mr. Prigozhin’s seeming escape — to date — from the grim destiny of many Kremlin critics.

“Prigozhin started off that day as a traitor at breakfast, he had been pardoned by supper, and then a few days later, he was invited for tea,” Mr. Moore instructed the viewers. “So, there are some things that even the chief of MI6 finds a little bit difficult to try and interpret, in terms of who’s in and who’s out.”

Last week, Mr. Putin stated that Wagner troops may proceed combating alongside the Russian Army in Ukraine, however with out their chief.

“He is clearly under pressure,” Mr. Moore stated of Mr. Putin. “You don’t have a group of mercenaries advance up the motorway toward Rostov and get to within 125 kilometers of Moscow unless you have not quite predicted that was going to happen.”

Mr. Moore was not the one British official weighing in on the scenario on Wednesday. James Cleverly, Britain’s overseas minister, talking on the Aspen Security Forum, stated that irrespective of “how Putin attempts to spin it, an attempted coup is never a good look.”

Julian Barnes contributed reporting from Aspen, Colo.

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