Senior Russian General Knew of Prigozhin’s Plans

The New York Times disclosed on Tuesday that General Sergei Surovikin, the subordinate commander of Russian military actions in Ukraine, had prior knowledge of a rebellion organized by mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin against Moscow’s defense authorities.

The paper cited U.S. officials privy to U.S. intelligence on the matter, indicating these officials were “probing whether Gen. Sergei Surovikin, the erstwhile principal Russian commander in Ukraine, had a role in strategizing Mr. Prigozhin’s actions over the past weekend.”

Following a short-lived insurrection by his Wagner fighters, Prigozhin sought refuge in Belarus on Tuesday as part of an agreement. Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin commended his military for preventing a civil war.

The New York Times additionally noted that U.S. officials suggested the potential backing of Prigozhin by other Russian generals.

The veracity of the report could not be independently confirmed by Reuters.

Requests for comment made to the Pentagon by Reuters remained unanswered at the time. Inquiries made to the Kremlin and the Russian defense ministry also remained unanswered.

Tagged as “General Armageddon” by Russian press, Surovikin had been placed in control of the operations in Ukraine in October. However, in January, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov was appointed by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to supervise the campaign, with Surovikin continuing as his second-in-command.

Prigozhin held Shoigu and Gerasimov responsible for the campaign’s shortcomings and the army’s lack of support for the Wagner fighters before initiating the rebellion.

Surovikin advised the Wagner group to cease their resistance to the military leadership and return to their bases just before Prigozhin guided his fighters on a so-called “march for justice.” Setting out from the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don during the weekend, Prigozhin called off the march within 200 kilometers (125 miles) of Moscow.