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Former CIA director Leon Panetta said that Russia will likely attempt to take control of the Wagner private military company, CNN reported on Aug. 23.
Panetta, who is also a former U.S. Defense Secretary, shared this view in an interview with CNN after a plane reportedly carrying Wagner commander Yevgeny Prigozhin crashed in Russia, leaving no survivors.
"I think they are going to be very concerned about allowing these guys basically to continue to operate on their own," Panetta said.
In the aftermath of the rebellion, Prigozhin and Wagner decamped to Belarus. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin reportedly hoped to bring Wagner forces back to Russia under new command.
On Aug. 21, Prigozhin released a video claiming to be in Africa, in an unnamed country. He pledged to make Russia "even greater on all continents."
"I would not be surprised if [Russian authorities] assert control in Africa, Asia, and wherever else they may be located," Panetta said.
He also said that Russia likely posed a threat to other Wagner fighters.
"I think those in the Wagner Group have got to worry about their own lives as well," Panetta said.