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HomeWorld USPutin Timeing Mercenary Revenge, Says CIA Chief: 'Ultimate Messenger of Retribution'

Putin Timeing Mercenary Revenge, Says CIA Chief: ‘Ultimate Messenger of Retribution’

CIA Director William J. Burns warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin likely had more business with Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin than when Prigozhin’s coup was attempted.

“I think … what we’re seeing is a very complex dance between Prigosan and Putin,” Burns told the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday. “I think Putin is someone who generally thinks that revenge is a dish best served cold.”

Burns speculated that Putin would continue to seek an angle to deal with Prigosan despite resolving the coup attempt by agreeing to send Wagner’s head into exile in Belarus, saying that Putin is “the last apostle of revenge.”

Burns asserted, “I’d be surprised if Prigozine escapes further revenge.” “In that sense … if I were Prigogine, I wouldn’t fire my food taster.”

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CIA Director William Burns speaks during a segment of the Trainer Award ceremony at the Georgetown Hotel and Conference Center on February 2, 2023 in Washington, DC, in the “Global Threat Landscape Address”. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Prigozhin, the self-proclaimed founder and leader of the mercenary Wagner Group, marched his troops into Moscow after claiming that the Kremlin had authorized an attack on his forces. The march brought his troops within 125 miles of Moscow before Prigozhin ordered them to turn around and return to base as they departed for Belarus.

Media and experts called the march the most significant challenge to Putin’s 23 years in power.

Prigozhin has returned to Russia since his exile began, with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko confirming earlier this month that Prigozhin had visited St. Petersburg and the Russian outlet Fontanka, reportedly to reclaim weapons seized by authorities during the search.

According to Burns, Putin’s position is difficult. The Russian president doesn’t want to appear to be “overreacting to things,” but he likely wants to try to separate Ferguson from his own forces, which remain “useful” to Putin because of their involvement in various international organizations in Africa, Libya and Syria.

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“I think what he’s going to do is isolate Pregosin and reduce it but preserve what’s valuable to him,” Burns said.

Putin said the Wagner troops on the march had “betrayed” Russia, but offered a deal with the Defense Ministry to any troops who did not participate in or support the coup attempt.

Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin leaves Risto in an SUV after ending an armed coup against the Russian army.

Wagner’s mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin leaves the headquarters of the Southern Military District amid the group’s withdrawal from Rostov-on-Don, Russia, June 24, 2023. (Reuters/Alexander Ermochenko)

Burns also revealed that the CIA paid particular attention to a video the organization posted on Telegram instructing disaffected Russians on how to safely contact the CIA.

“We’ve already had two and a half million views on this Telegram video in a week, so the truth is that there’s a lot of uneasiness in Russia right now, in the elites and outside of Russia, and we’re not wasting that opportunity as an intelligence service to try to capitalize on that,” he revealed.

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“I think Putin is already a little nervous because he’s looking over his shoulder … and there’s a debate going on within the Russian elite right now,” Burns added. “It would be crazy for us not to take advantage of what is truly a once-in-a-generation opportunity as a human intelligence service.”

Opposition to Putin has been low because of a series of high-profile accidents that have left many who were previously considered close associates of Putin missing or dead. About a dozen people died after criticizing the attack, Euronews reported.

Yevgeny Prigogne and Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin in a split-screen photo. (Getty Images)

Ivan Pechorin, managing director of the aviation industry at the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and Arctic, died on September 12 after reportedly falling from a speedboat off the coast of Vladivostok.

Ravel Magunov, the chairman of Russian oil company Lukoil, died on September 1, allegedly after falling from a sixth-floor window of a Moscow hospital. He and his company urged Putin to call off the attack, calling it a “tragedy”. Lukoil claimed that Magnoff “died after a severe illness”.

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Alexander Subbotin, a former top manager of Lukoil, was found dead in the basement of a Moscow home in May after he allegedly went to a doctor to treat hangover symptoms but instead suffered heart failure.

But the war has proved difficult for Putin, and Ukraine’s retaliation has not helped matters, although Burns acknowledged that the effort is “a tough slog” and that it will “take time” to make progress.

“However, I am an optimist … that Ukrainians will be able to develop,” Burns noted.

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“I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that behind the pretty solid defenses that the Russians have built in southern Ukraine, there are some pretty significant structural weaknesses, poor morale and even a general look, to put it mildly, on the Russian side,” he explained. He also noted the ‘chaos’ in the political and very senior military leadership.

“So, I think it’s going to be a tough call, but we’re going to do everything we can as an intelligence agency to provide the kind of intelligence support and sharing that will help the Ukrainians develop.”

Source by [Fox News]



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