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White House blames Russia for death of Putin coup leader

 August 30, 2023

The White House has formally acknowledged its belief that Russian President Vladimir Putin was behind the assassination of Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The administration's acknowledgment of this conclusion comes after President Joe Biden's previous comments on Prigozhin's demise.

In those remarks, he implied that Putin is involved in most major events that take place in Russia, as Fox News reports.

White House Press Secretary's statement

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, referring to President Biden's previous comments on Prigozhin's demise, told reporters:

It seems pretty evident what happened here.

A week ago, following the news of Prigozhin's death in a private plane crash, Biden stated:

There's not much that happens in Russia that Putin is not behind.

Prigozhin, a militant leader who initiated a brief rebellion against the Russian military, perished alongside several senior members of the Wagner Group in a plane crash.

Also on the plane were Dmitry Utkin, Prigozhin's deputy, and Valery Chekalov.

Chekalov had served as the non-military logistics head of Wagner.

Wagner Group's operations

Previously, Putin compelled Wagner mercenaries to cease operations in Ukraine in the wake of the aborted rebellion. Nonetheless, the group continues to be significantly active in Africa.

While the cause of the crash that claimed Prigozhin's life remains uncertain, experts suspect that Putin orchestrated an assassination.

Jean-Pierre further noted that it seems that the death of the mercenary leader was both "foreseeable" and "forewarned."

Rescue teams recovered 10 bodies from the debris, and Russian authorities announced on Sunday that DNA testing confirmed Prigozhin was among the deceased.

After the crash, Putin characterized Prigozhin as a person with a "challenging destiny" who committed "grave errors in life" yet attained the necessary outcomes for himself and, when requested, for the collective good in recent months.

He also praised Prigozhin as a gifted individual and businessman.

History of Kremlin Assassinations

The White House indicated that such an assassination would be characteristic of Putin's Russia. Jean-Pierre observed:

We all know that the Kremlin has a long history of killing its opponents. That is the history of the Kremlin. And if we take a step back, if you look back for a second, all of this happened because of dysfunction inside Russia. A Russian warlord, himself a cold-blooded killer, a cold-blooded murderer, became so frustrated by the way the Russian government was waging its unprovoked war in Ukraine that he criticized Russia's failing policies. You heard that directly from him.

Jean-Pierre further elaborated:

And so, he called out the war's needlessness and marched on Moscow before reaching a deal with Mr. Putin. And so now, two months later, after he struck that deal, he's been killed. So, you know, it's very clear what happened here.

The White House declined to confirm whether an official intelligence evaluation of Prigozhin's demise would be released.

Conclusion

  • The White House formally acknowledged its belief that Vladimir Putin orchestrated the assassination of Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin.
  • Prigozhin, a militant leader who initiated a brief rebellion against the Russian military, perished in a private plane crash along with several senior members of the Wagner Group.
  • The White House indicated that such an assassination would be characteristic of Putin's Russia, highlighting the Kremlin's lengthy history of eliminating its adversaries.
  • The White House declined to confirm whether an official intelligence evaluation of Prigozhin's demise would be released.