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CNN: Former CIA director says Russia will try to take charge of Wagner

by Abbey Fenbert August 24, 2023 6:59 AM 2 min read
Former US Defense Secretary and former CIA director Leon Panetta. (Photo by Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images)
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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.

Prigozhin's resistance to the Russian Defense Ministry's attempts to assert authority over  Wagner culminated in a brief insurrection in June 2023.

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.

Ukraine war latest: Wagner warlord reportedly killed in plane crash 2 months after staging mutiny
Key developments on Aug. 23: * Russian media: Private jet crashes in Russia, warlord Prigozhin listed among passengers * Intelligence chief: Russia has 27 operable Tu-22M3 bombers left following recent strikes * Media: Russian military pilot defects to Ukraine * Zelensky meets Hungarian preside…
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