House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) said on Sunday that Yevgeny Prigozhin had multiple accomplices inside Russia to pull off his feat of moving his forces from Ukraine to within two hours of Moscow in less than a day.
Turner’s remarks come after Prigozhin moved thousands of his Wagner troops hundreds of miles through Russia to take on the country’s military leadership before halting roughly 100 miles outside Russia’s capital and ordering his troops to turn around.
“And then entering into Moscow — entering into Russia itself and taking their convoy to Moscow, that really shows to the basic issue of whether or not Putin controls his military,” Turner said. “For any government to have stability, they have to control their military. Obviously Prigozhin, in order to make it that distance, has to have accomplices.”
“You know, where was the air force?” he asked. “Where was the Russian air force in preventing this? That’s going to be an issue that — that Putin is going to have to deal with both internationally and domestically, is his government, as an authoritarian government depends, on its assertion of power, force, in order to be able to contain — to continue to wield power, and that certainly is going to be an issue.”
Turner said that he could not get into what intelligence U.S. officials have on the situation other than they are paying very close attention to it.
“[Prigozhin]’s a military guy,” Turner added. “Remember, this is like a 12-hour trip from Ukraine to Moscow, and he got within two hours of Moscow. Now, being a military guy, he understands the logistics and really the assistance that he’s going to need to do that. This is not a weekend trip he’s taking, taking his convoy, and his military convoy, up to Moscow.”
“There’s a number of accomplices, including, as we saw, some of the Russian people on the border with Ukraine who clearly support the Wagner group, in contrast to their support for the Russian government,” he added. “This is something that would have had to been planned for a significant amount of time to be executed in the manner in which it was.”
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