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The Wagner Group chief, Evgeny Prigozhin, has attended a “secret meeting with Putin” just weeks after he was banished from Russia.
Putin’s former chef was reportedly back in Moscow at the Kremlin, where Prigozhin was summoned by the Russian president’s top commanders.
In what has been dubbed an “unannounced session”, it allegedly took place on July 1 which was a mere week after the Wagner mercenary army began a revolt.
This was halted in its tracks as soldiers marched to Moscow to overthrow the Kremlin after a “deal” was reportedly struck with Putin – which saw Prigozhin forced to leave for neighbouring Belarus.
French publication Libération, has claimed secret service sources had located the former army boss, which could explain why speculation had arisen over his return to Russia.
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During his visit, he allegedly had the opportunity to meet with President Putin and was also reportedly heard by General Viktor Zolotov, commander of the National Guard Rosgvardia and a close ally of the president.
Sergei Naryshkin, the head of the Russian foreign intelligence service, was also present, reports say.
Prigozhin, often referred to as “Putin’s chef,” has gained prominence in Russia due to his association with the president and his involvement in various business ventures.
Head of the infamous mercenary group, he has faced accusations of meddling in international affairs.
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While the exact details of the meeting remain undisclosed, this encounter between Prigozhin and Putin has attracted significant attention, considering the involvement of Western intelligence sources.
The French newspaper’s revelation come just a few weeks after Prigozhin attempted a military coup against Russian forces in Moscow.
According to Nobel prize-winner Dmitry Muratov, the Wagner chief may have been tasked by Putin to kill Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in exchange for forgiveness.
He said: “I think [Yevgeny Prigozhin] may not ask for forgiveness [from Putin], but he may commit some great atrocity for the benefit of Russia.
“He may try to organise an assassination attempt on [Volodymyr] Zelensky and bring the head of the President of Ukraine to the Kremlin.
“He must do something that will take away the taste of what Putin called ‘a stab in the back of Russia’.”
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