New York Times: A senior Russian military official was aware of the Wagner plan for rebellion

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The New York Times reported on Tuesday that General Sergei Surovikin, deputy commander of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, had advance knowledge that Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the private military group Wagner, was planning to rebel against Russian defense officials.

Citing US officials briefed on US intelligence, the New York Times said the officials were trying to find out if Gen. Sergei Surovikin, Russia’s former top commander in Ukraine, had helped Prigozhin’s in his plan for movements over the weekend.

Prigozhin went into exile in Belarus on Tuesday under a deal that ended a brief revolt by Wagner fighters at the weekend, and President Vladimir Putin praised the armed forces for averting civil war.

The New York Times quoted US officials as saying that there are indications that other Russian military leaders may have supported Prigozhin.

Sorovikin was given full responsibility for operations in Ukraine in October 2022; however, last January Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu assigned chief of the general staff Valery Gerasimov to oversee the campaign, with Surovikin as his deputy.

Before the rebellion, Prigozhin harshly criticize both Shoigu and Gerasimov, holding them responsible for the failures of the military operation in Ukraine and the fact that Russian army lack of support for the Wagner fighters.

Surovikin called on Wagner Group not to oppose the military leadership and return to its bases before Prigozhin leads his fighters in what called a “March for Justice”.

After Prigozhin set off from the southern Russian city of Rostov at the weekend, he halted the march 200 kilometers from Moscow.

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