US intelligence agencies monitored indications a few days ago that the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was preparing to move against the Russian defense establishment, US media reported Saturday.
US intelligence officials gave briefings at the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill about the possibility of unrest in Russia a day before it began, according to the Washington Post and The New York Times.
The Washington Post reported that US intelligence services began monitoring indications that Prigozhin and his Wagner force intend to move against the Russian military leadership in mid-June.
The New York Times pointed out that by the middle of the week the information had become more tangible and disturbing, prompting intelligence officials to provide a series of briefings.
In an accelerated rebellion, Prigozhin’s forces moved from their camps in Ukraine towards Russia on Friday and took control of the regional military command in the southern city of Rostov before advancing towards Moscow.
However, the move was also abruptly canceled on Saturday, and official Russian media announced that Wagner’s forces would return to Ukraine, while Prigozhin would travel to neighboring Belarus.
The information that Prigozhin intends to move militarily raised concerns among US intelligence officials about the possibility of chaos erupting in a country that possesses a powerful nuclear arsenal, according to the New York Times.
The Washington Post indicated that Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed that Prigozhin, who was a close ally of his, was planning the rebellion at least a day before its implementation.