The top of Britain’s intelligence company, MI6, mentioned on Wednesday that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had “minimize a deal” with Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the founding father of the Wagner mercenary group, throughout Mr. Prigozhin’s failed insurrection final month.
The feedback from Richard Moore, the top of MI6, in a uncommon speech in Prague at an event hosted by Politico, provide insights from a Western intelligence official into the beautiful however short-lived revolt by Mr. Prigozhin final month.
The Wagner chief staged a mutiny in opposition to Russia’s navy final month, which noticed his mercenary forces marching towards the capital earlier than abruptly halting. Greater than two weeks later, the Kremlin disclosed that Mr. Prigozhin and different Wagner leaders had met with Mr. Putin for 3 hours within the days after the insurrection ended.
“I feel he in all probability feels beneath some stress,” Mr. Moore mentioned of Mr. Putin, talking on the British ambassador’s residence within the Czech capital. “Prigozhin was his creature, completely created by Putin, and but he turned on him. He actually didn’t combat again in opposition to Prigozhin; he minimize a deal to avoid wasting his pores and skin utilizing the nice workplaces of the chief of Belarus.”
Mr. Moore additionally mirrored on the head-spinning nature of the Wagner forces’ sudden march towards Moscow, the swiftness with which they stopped, and Mr. Prigozhin’s seeming escape — to date — from the grim destiny of many Kremlin critics.
“Prigozhin began off that day as a traitor at breakfast, he had been pardoned by supper, after which a couple of days later, he was invited for tea,” Mr. Moore instructed the viewers. “So, there are some issues that even the chief of MI6 finds somewhat bit tough to try to interpret, when it comes to who’s in and who’s out.”
Final week, Mr. Putin said that Wagner troops could continue fighting alongside the Russian Military in Ukraine, however with out their chief.
“He’s clearly beneath stress,” Mr. Moore mentioned of Mr. Putin. “You don’t have a bunch of mercenaries advance up the motorway towards Rostov and get to inside 125 kilometers of Moscow except you haven’t fairly predicted that was going to occur.”
Mr. Moore was not the one British official weighing in on the scenario on Wednesday. James Cleverly, Britain’s overseas minister, talking on the Aspen Safety Discussion board, mentioned that regardless of “how Putin makes an attempt to spin it, an tried coup is rarely look.”
Julian Barnes contributed reporting from Aspen, Colorado.