Wagner Group mercenary cries at shrine for Yevgeny Prigozhin
Vladimir Putin has “signed his own death warrant” if he is behind the suspected death of Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former Colonel in the British Army has said.
A preliminary US intelligence assessment has found that the plane crash presumed to have killed Prigozhin was intentionally caused – and it is was “very likely” he was targeted and that the explosion is in line with the Russian President’s “long history of trying to silence his critics”.
The founder of the Wagner military company and six other passengers were on a private jet that crashed on Wednesday soon after taking off from Moscow with a crew of three, according to Russia’s civil aviation authority.
Read more… Prigozhin’s ‘difficult fate’ has ‘complex implications’ for Putin
A former US Ambassador to Russia has said that he believes it is “likely” Prigozhin was assassinated on the orders of Putin, and that the death could have “complex implications” for the Russian president.
And now a former British Army officer has said that he believes mercenaries loyal to Prigozhin now pose a”real danger” to Putin.
Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon said: “Putin has signed his death warrant here. He has upset the two most powerful groups in Russia – the oligarchs who keep him in power and the most effective fighting force Putin has ever put in the field, the Wagner Group.”
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Speaking to the Sun, Col de Bretton-Gordon said the Wagner Group’s mercenaries “are used to being paid a lot of money to carry out the will of Prigozhin”. He added: “Now, there will be a vacuum.”
“There are now 5,000 guns to hire. And in a funny sort of irony, somebody else could hire them to go create mayhem in Russia.
“Prigozhin was a figurehead, but the real leaders within Wagner will be looking for a new cash cow and if that means killing Russians, then I’m sure they would have no qualms about doing that at all.”
Col de Bretton-Gordon said the alleged assassination shows that “Putin is deluded and living in his own little world”.
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Meanwhile, Michael McFaul, US Ambassador to Russia between 2012-2014, says that the alleged assassination of Prigozhin is likely to have “complex implications” – but analysts like himself cannot “state with clarity the consequences” his death will have.
Putin eliminated a threat – a charismatic leader who commanded thousands of trained soldiers. He also sent a strong signal of deterrence, as I wrote back in June, to future would-be coup plotters.
“At the same time, we should not overstate the upside of this assassination for Putin and his power over the long run, especially his ability to project power abroad. Most obviously, Putin has now weakened if not destroyed a key instrument for his power projection overseas.
“In killing Prigozhin, Putin achieved a short-term victory of consolidating his power at home,” said McFauyl. “In the long term, however, the negative consequences for Putin’s ability to achieve his foreign policy objectives abroad, especially in Ukraine, may outweigh the short-term gains.
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