US found out about Prigozhin planned mutiny in mid-June: WashPo
US intelligence agencies reportedly found out about Wagner chief Prigozhin's planned mutiny earlier in the month, saying nothing to alert Russia.
US intelligence agencies learned that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group private military company (PMC), might be planning a mutiny and alerted the White House and other government agencies so they wouldn't be caught off guard, The Washington Post reported, citing several US officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Although the specifics of Prigozhin's plans remained unclear, one source claimed that "there were enough signals to be able to tell the leadership... that something was up."
According to unidentified sources quoted in the newspaper, the White House, top officials at the Department of State, the Pentagon, and members of Congress were informed by the intelligence agencies over the last two weeks.
Meanwhile, The New York Times said the US spy services were reluctant to declassify the material because of fear that Russia would accuse them of planning a coup. According to the investigation, they also showed "little interest" in assisting Russian authorities.
Moreover, the US planned to delay new sanctions on the Wagner group after its Prigozhin announced on his Telegram channel storming the Rostov region and taking over the military headquarters in response to what he claimed was a Russian attack on his troops earlier under the orders of the Defense Ministry.
According to individuals close to the matter, the US is wary of appearing to be on the Russian President's side, WSJ reported. "Washington does not want to appear to be taking sides in this," the newspaper added.
The State Department was expected to disclose additional sanctions on Wagner's gold business in Africa on Tuesday, including an alleged mining operation set up by the firm in the Central African Republic, the sources said.
Washington had previously sanctioned the group for its alleged role in misinformation efforts, particularly during the 2016 US presidential election, which was never proven, as well as its involvement in the Ukrainian war, but the Biden administration planned to tighten the screws on its international commercial empire.
Rostov Governor Vasily Golubev announced on Sunday evening that the Wagner group began its exit from Rostov as determined in the mediated agreement led by Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.
"The Wagner PMC convoy left Rostov and headed to its field camps," Golubev said. "I am grateful to everyone who in these extraordinary conditions ensured the smooth operation of the life support systems in the Don capital and the entire Rostov region."
Prigozhin had accepted the proposal of Lukashenko to stop the movement of Wagner fighters in Russia and take further steps to de-escalate the situation, the Belarusian presidential office announced on Saturday.
That morning, Putin briefed his Belarusian counterpart on the situation in southern Russia around the Wagner PMC, with the two leaders agreeing on coordinated actions, Lukashenko's office mentioned in a statement.
"In line with the agreements and as agreed with the Russian president, the Belarusian president held talks with the head of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, after additionally clarifying the situation via its own channels," the statement read.