‘No, this is all staged’: Ex-CIA analyst claims Putin ‘orchestrated’ the Wagner coup with Prigozhin as a ‘classic false flag’ to boost recruitment for the army and make West think he is weakened
- Ex-CIA analyst Rebekah Koffler claimed Vladimir Putin ‘orchestrated’ the coup
- She suggested Putin and Yevgeny Prigozhi worked together to stage the uprising
- Kremlin faces a ‘deeply unstable’ situation after the Wagner truce, experts warn
An ex-CIA analyst has claimed Vladimir Putin ‘orchestrated’ the coup with Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhi in a ‘classic false flag’ to try to make the West believe his army had weakened.
Rebekah Koffler told Fox News’ Eric Shawn on Saturday the coup was staged as a way for the Russian leader to boost his political power and he will eventually ‘gain momentum, mobilize additional personnel, and re-energize his offensive on Ukraine.’
Prigozhin’s forces moved from their camps in Ukraine into Russia on Friday and took over a regional military command in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, before advancing toward Moscow.
Just as suddenly, the advance was called off on Saturday, and Russian state media said the Wagner troops would return to Ukraine while Prigozhin would flee to neighboring Belarus.
‘So again, what has changed from this in the last few hours? All of a sudden he decided to turn his troops around and made this deal? No, this is all staged,’ Koffler said, adding that Putin wants us to believe he is weak.
Ex-CIA analyst Rebekah Koffler claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘orchestrated’ the coup with Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin as a ‘classic false flag’
Koffler said on Saturday that the coup was staged as a way for Putin to boost his political power and he will eventually ‘gain momentum, mobilize additional personnel, and re-energize his offensive on Ukraine’
The chief of the rebel Wagner mercenary force Yevgeny Prigozhin (pictured Saturday) will go to Belarus and will not face charges after calling off his troops’ advance on Moscow, the Russian government said, easing the country’s most serious security crisis in decades
‘Putin wants us to believe that he’s weak, that there’s an ongoing threat of a military insurrection,’ Koffler claimed.
While Koffler’s credentials are bona fide, it’s unclear why Putin would let it go so far.
She continued: ‘So this is a pretext to declare martial law, which Putin has already done. He made an amendment today that anybody who is violating the martial law is going to be imprisoned for 30 days. Another very interesting and revealing point is that Putin just authorized that men with a criminal record can join the military.’
‘So this is a justification for extra mobilization of the Russian forces to send them to the meat grinder in Ukraine. It is also to demonstrate to President Biden that, no, Russia is not a threat. Russia is actually, you know, involved in its own domestic turmoil. But this is all a classic distraction and classic Putin,’ she said.
‘Prigozhin is not a stupid man. He’s a highly intelligent formerly convict. He turned his life around from a prisoner to a hot dog stands owner to the owner of a multi-million catering business that served the Kremlin, including Putin himself.’
A Russian soldier mans a machine gun post in the south of Moscow earlier, ahead of the expected arrival of Prigozhin and the Wagner troops. But Prigozhin has confirmed he has ordered his mercenaries to halt their march
Tanks were hauled out of southern city of Rostov as Prigozhin’s forces retreated from Rostov
Huge crowds gathered in Rostov-on-Don as Wagner-owned tanks rolled out of the city
People gathered to bid farewell to Prigozhin, with one man even reaching through his car window to shake the exiled Wagner leader’s hand
The Kremlin faces a ‘deeply unstable’ situation after the Wagner rebellion ‘exposed the regime’s weakness’, analysts have warned.
Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) allege the ‘short-term fix’ of an apparent truce with the Wagner Group will likely ‘substantially damage’ Putin’s government and war efforts, claiming it demonstrated security weaknesses and the ‘inability’ to repel internal threats quickly.
It comes as Putin’s longtime ally Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov slammed Prigozhin’s ‘arrogance’, claiming his actions could lead to ‘dangerous consequences’.
Wagner fighters were leaving Russia’s southern Voronezh region Sunday, the local governor said, after the group halted a dramatic rebellion to bring down Russia’s top brass and U-turned on a march to Moscow.
‘The movement of Wagner units through the Voronezh region is ending,’ Voronezh governor Alexander Gusev said.
‘It is running normally and without incidents,’ Gusev added, saying travel restrictions imposed during Saturday’s operation against the mutiny will be lifted once ‘the situation is finally resolved.’
ISW analysts allege the apparent truce with Wagner forces is a ‘short-term fix, not a long-term solution’.
They argued: ‘The rebellion exposed the weakness of the Russian security forces and demonstrated Putin’s inability to use his forces in a timely manner to repel an internal threat and further eroded his monopoly on force.
US spy agencies picked up signs days ago that Prigozhin was preparing to rise up against Russia’s defense establishment, American media reported on Saturday.
Intelligence officials conducted briefings at the White House, the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill about the potential for unrest in nuclear-armed Russia a full day before it unfolded, according to the Washington Post and New York Times.
Spy agencies first began tracking indications that Prigozhin and his Wagner mercenary force intended to move against the Russian military leadership in mid-June, the Post said.
The Times said the information was both solid and alarming by mid-week, leading to the flurry of briefings.
In an uprising that played out with dizzying speed, Prigozhin’s forces moved into Russia on Friday and took over a regional military command in Rostov-on-Don.
The advance was called off on Saturday, with Russian state media reporting that Wagner troops would return to Ukraine while Prigozhin would flee to Belarus.
The Kremlin said it would not prosecute Prigozhin or the armed members of the Wagner group.
As US intelligence officials pinned down information that Prigozhin was preparing military action, they grew concerned about chaos in a country with a powerful nuclear arsenal, the Times reported.
Prigozhin claimed to have also shot down a Russian military helicopter in the city – home to the Kremlin’s headquarters for the war in Ukraine
Armored cars blockade a street in the city of Rostov as the sun began to rise on Saturday
US spy agencies believe that Putin himself was informed that Prigozhin, once a close ally, was plotting his rebellion at least a day before it occurred, the Post reported.
Prigozhin will go to Belarus and will not face charges after calling off his troops’ advance on Moscow, the Russian government said, easing the country’s most serious security crisis in decades.
The feud between Prigozhin and Russia’s military brass came to a violent head in the past day, with his forces capturing a key army headquarters in southern Russia on Saturday and then heading north to threaten the capital.
Within hours of Prigozhin’s about-face, the Kremlin announced he would leave for Belarus and Russia would not prosecute him or Wagner’s members.
It had been a dramatic day, with President Vladimir Putin warning against civil war, Moscow telling locals to stay off the streets and Kyiv reveling in the chaos engulfing its enemy.
The tide shifted suddenly when Prigozhin made the stunning announcement that his troops were ‘turning our columns around and going back to field camps’ to avoid bloodshed in the Russian capital.
Prigozhin, who has feuded bitterly with Moscow’s military leadership even as his outfit led parts of Russia’s Ukraine offensive, said he understood the importance of the moment and did not want to ‘spill Russian blood’.
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