According to reporting by The Washington Post, multiple U.S. Officials revealed on Saturday (June 24) that in mid-June, American spy agencies received intelligence suggesting that Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group, was planning an armed attack against the Russian defense establishment.
Prigozhin has blamed the Russian government for mismanaging the war in Ukraine. The U.S. officials quickly informed the White House and other government agencies to prevent surprises.
According to the officials, the details and timing of Prigozhin’s plans were not known until shortly before his surprising takeover of a military command and tank run towards Moscow on Friday and Saturday.
One U.S. official that spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that “there were enough signals to be able to tell the leadership… that something was up,” suggesting they were likely “ready for it.”
There has been a “high concern” about the situation’s outcome for the last couple of weeks. The concern was whether Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, would continue to hold power and the possible consequences of any instability, especially concerning Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
The U.S. official added, “There were lots of questions along those lines.”
Officials expressed concern that a potential “civil war” in Russia could lead to instability.
Officials have recently briefed senior staff at the Pentagon, State Department, Congress, and the White House on the intelligence. CNN reported earlier that Congressional leaders were briefed this week.
Officials have reported that Prigozhin was significantly triggered by a Russian Defense Ministry order on June 10. This order stated that all volunteer detachments are required to sign contracts with the government.
Although the order did not explicitly refer to the Wagner Group, it was evident that it called for the acquisition of Prigozhin’s mercenary forces. These troops have been crucial to Russia’s military operations in Ukraine and have played a significant role in securing many of its key victories.