US intelligence: General Surovikin knew about Prigozhin’s impending mutiny

The deputy commander of the Russian grouping in Ukraine, General Sergei Surovikin, knew in advance about Yevgeny Prigozhin’s plans to launch an armed rebellion against Russia’s military command, writes The New York Times citing U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence.

According to them, they are now trying to determine whether Surovikin helped plan the rebellion that turned into a march on Moscow and became the most serious threat to Russian President Vladimir Putin in his 23 years in office. The union of Surovikin and Prigozhin could also explain the fact that the head of Wagner’s PMC is still alive and could have left for Belarus.

In addition, according to American intelligence, there are indications that other Russian generals could support Prigozhin’s attempt to change the leadership of the Russian Defense Ministry. Wagner’s boss would not have mutinied if he did not believe others in power would come to his aid, current and former US officials say.

Surovikin, after a series of defeats with Russia last fall, was appointed commander of the Russian group in Ukraine. He strengthened the defenses along the front line and withdrew troops from Kherson. In January, Putin replaced him with the chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, leaving the general as deputy commander.

Overall, the attempted mutiny may indicate a wide rift between Putin and Prigozhin’s supporters, notes the NYT. In this situation, according to the publication’s sources, Putin must decide for himself whether he considers Surovikin involved in the rebellion and how to react to it. The president may fire the general if it is confirmed that he knew about the rebels’ plans but did nothing, former US officials say.

At the same time, American officials are interested in disseminating information that undermines the authority of Surovikin, because they consider him the most competent and ruthless representative of the Russian command. According to NYT interlocutors, his removal from office will benefit Ukraine.

Surovikin was the first general to approach Prigogine after the mutiny began. He appealed to the head of the PKW to obey the will and orders of the president and not to inflame the political situation in the country.

In response to this on the AP telegram channel Wagner a threat appeared at his address: “All the generals who with trembling hands appeal to the musicians to stop have in fact signed their verdict. There will be a tribunal. Surovikin will still answer for the surrender of Kherson.”


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