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The news of the killing of the leader of the "Wagner" group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, prompted many questions to be raised in Washington, without conclusive answers being available about the nature of what happened. The US Department of Defense did not suggest any scenario regarding how his plane fell, and left the door open to speculation whose accuracy is difficult to verify at the present time.
Al-Jazeera Net polled the opinions of American experts specializing in Russian security and intelligence affairs about the killing of Prigozhin.
After the failure of Prigozhin's insurgency two months ago, there was public discussion of Prigozhin moving Wagner operations and training to Belarus, says Jonathan Acuff, a professor in the Department of Intelligence and National Security Studies at the University of Carolina.
Misleading and manipulating
Akoff - who previously worked as a military analyst at the National Bureau of Asian Research, and served as a reserve officer in the US Ground Forces - adds that during the same period, Prigozhin continued to appear publicly, and several video clips were recently broadcast to him on Russian military sites, and he was apparently in Africa. to support Wagner's extensive operations there.
However, there is no evidence that the video material was not taken prior to the rebellion.
Akoff pointed out that the Kremlin has a long history of manipulating videos, raising the possibility that the Russian authorities had arrested Prigozhin in the aftermath of the rebellion, and he never left the Lubyanka building (the headquarters of the Russian intelligence service in Moscow, the FSB). and that Prigozhin may have been forced onto a plane made by Embraer, a Brazilian company that has not provided any maintenance equipment to its Russian customers since sanctions were imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
He added that Prigozhin may have been killed earlier and surreptitiously put on that plane.
The expert pointed out that the timing of Prigozhin's death must be linked, which came one day after the dismissal of the Air Force commander, General known as "Armageddon" Sergey Sorvykin, considering that Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks through this to strengthen his control over the Russian armed forces.
An inevitable result
As for Matthew Wallen, CEO of the American Security Project (a research center focusing on security and military affairs), he said that many expected Yevgeny Prigozhin to be killed after his attempt to rebel against Putin.
He noted that prior to the rebellion, Prigozhin had been increasingly publicly critical of the Russian military leadership, demonstrating a high degree of discord within the Russian forces.
Whalen adds that while this may have served Putin to some extent, things spiraled out of control when Prigozhin attempted a rebellion and sought to gain access to Moscow.
And he considered that Putin dealt with great experience in thwarting the rebellion, defuse it in one day, then in the following two months, he recovered the vast majority of Wagner's heavy weapons, refocused its activities in Africa, absorbed a large number of Wagner personnel into the Russian army, and transferred the rest outside the country, He consolidated his control over the political situation in Moscow, whereupon he likely ordered the murder of Prigozhin.
For his part, professor and expert on American foreign policy at Dartmouth University, Professor William Wolfforth, confirmed that Prigozhin was not good, as he led "barbaric forces" in Ukraine.
He added that no one can appreciate Prigozhin's calculations when he embarked on his rebellion, and how could he have thought it would be safe to fly inside Russia?
Source: Al Jazeera