A European intelligence official told CNN there were “hints” the Russian security services or military might have had prior knowledge of the armed rebellion in Russia this weekend and might have wanted it to succeed.
A European intelligence official, who did not want to be named discussing sensitive information, said: “They might have known, and might have not told about it, and known and decided to help it succeed. There are some hints. There might have been prior knowledge. What happened made Putin lose prestige. If that is what factions wanted, then that is what they got.”
“I would not speculate on whether a purge will follow, but there is definitely turmoil and it has added more fuel to that.”
Asked if General Sergey Surovikin had advanced knowledge of the plot, as reported by the New York Times, or if Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin intended to capture Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu or chief of staff Valery Gerasmiov, as reported by the WSJ, the official said: “There is a lot of fog still. That would be speculation. Time will tell what exactly [Prigozhin’s] reasons were.”
The official would not comment if Prigozhin is in Belarus. “We still do not know everything that was in the deal Lukashenko brokered,” the official added, saying this would determine how potent a force Prigozhin remained.
The official added that any impact on the front lines in Ukraine would likely not be felt in the next few days, but might take longer.