Putin had ordered right-hand man to kill Wagner chief: Reports

NEW DELHI | Updated: 22 December, 2023 4:51 pm IST
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NEW DELHI: According to reports, Russian Premier Vladimir Putin had ordered his right-hand man, Security Council’s Nikolai Patrushev to assassinate Wagner mercenary group leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

According to reports accessed by the media, the information was released by Western intelligence units as well as a former Russian officer. Prigozhin was killed in August, alongside his compatriots, when his plane exploded.

Patrushev had always perceived the Wagner chief as a threat, even before the group had declared a march to Moscow. According to the report, the former was apprehensive of Prigozhin owing to his open criticism of the Russian military’s top brass, citing concerns about him gaining too much power.

The Wagner group was crucial in advancing war efforts for Russia’s cause during their conflict with Ukraine. Following this, the group formulated animosity with the Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, resulting in the outfit attempting a brief mutiny in the country in June 2023.

However, he abruptly ended the so-called “March of Justice” to Moscow after Belarus agreed to broker a deal to allow him to pass through the country. This development led Patrushev to decide upon “teaching Prigozhin a lesson”, according to the report. The SC representative has been functioning under Putin since the beginning and is presently, the second most powerful man in Russia.

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Accordingly, the Russian President “did not object” to the suggestion. Upon the publication of the report, the Kremlin mooted it, calling the report “pulp fiction”.

Following Pirgozhin’s death, Putin highlighted it as an unfortunate incident, stating that the Wagner chief had made “some mistakes”. He also blamed the group for mishandling grenades while aboard, which ultimately led to their death.
However, the report denied these claims stating that a small bomb was attached under the wing of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s plane while it waited on the tarmac at a Moscow airport.

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