US intelligence can detect early signs of rebellion by Wagner
Prigozhin leaves the headquarters of the Southern Military District after ordering Wagner forces to withdraw from the city of Rostov-on-Don on June 25. Photo: Reuters

US intelligence, since mid-June, received information that Wagner was planning armed action in Russia, although the scale is unknown.

The Washington Post on June 24 quoted US officials as saying that US intelligence two weeks ago urgently informed the White House and other agencies in the government so that they would not be surprised about Wagner’s actions.

The US intelligence at that time did not know the exact nature and timing of the plan of armed action against the Russian army of boss Wagner Yevgeniy Prigozhin, but they had enough grounds to report to American leaders that “what something is about to happen” said an unnamed official. “So I think they anticipated that situation.”

According to the official, over the past two weeks, US leaders have been “highly concerned” about what could happen, such as what situations could affect Russia’s control of its nuclear arsenal. The biggest concern is instability due to armed conflict within Russia.

US intelligence has urgently notified the White House and other government agencies such as the Pentagon and the State Department. Congress has also received steady intelligence over the past two weeks.

CNN also reported that intelligence officials also informed the US Congress in the past week about news related to Wagner.

According to US intelligence, the main reason for Prigozhin’s actions was that the Russian Defense Ministry on June 10 issued an order that all volunteer units must sign contracts with the military, which would put Wagner under direct command by the Ministry of Defense.

A senior Ukrainian official said that Ukrainian military officials have also been monitoring Prigozhin’s movements following the June 10 announcement and are increasingly convinced that Wagner can mobilize forces against the army. According to the official, Prigozhin has publicly opposed the Defense Ministry’s request for a contract, and Ukrainian officials seriously evaluate the possibility that he might take armed action.

However, Ukrainian authorities do not know when Prigozhin acted. Ukrainian officials also did not know whether the United States shared information about Prigozhin’s plans with Kyiv.

US intelligence agencies believe Russian President Vladimir Putin has also been informed that Prigozhin is up to something. “It’s not clear when Putin was notified, but it was certainly more than 24 hours before Wagner took action,” the US official said.

It remains unclear why President Putin did not act sooner to prevent Wagner from taking control of the Southern Military District headquarters in Rostov and heading toward Moscow.

“If Prigozhin intends to separate the Command of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Kremlin, he has failed,” a senior Western official said.

Boss Wagner at dawn on June 24, sent thousands of gunmen from the Ukrainian battlefield across the Russian border and into Rostov province after accusing the Defense Minister of directing a missile raid on Wagner’s training camp. , causing great casualties. The Russian military denies this.

Wagner entered the city of Rostov-on-Don, the capital of Rostov province, taking control of the headquarters of the Southern Military District of Russia. The force also advanced to the cities of Voronezh and Lipetsk south of Moscow, prompting Russia to launch an anti-terrorist operation there in response.

By the evening of the same day, Prigozhin ordered the Wagner member who was heading to Moscow to turn back and return to the barracks to “avoid bloodshed.” On the morning of June 25, the Kremlin announced that Prigozhin would leave Russia for Belarus and that he and Wagner members who participated in the rebellion would not be prosecuted.

Wagner’s rebellion is considered the biggest crisis Russia has faced in decades. Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev called the rebellion a well-calculated plan to seize power.