Putin says ‘the organisers of this rebellion will face justice’
A feared Russian commander who mysteriously disappeared after the Wagner Group’s attempted coup against Vladimir Putin was a secret VIP member of the private military group, it has been claimed.
General Sergey Surovikin was given the nickname “General Armageddon” for his ruthless bombing of cities in Syria, reports The Daily Express US.
A video was released on Saturday in which the general pleaded to Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin to stop his insurrection. But the general has fallen off the Russian radar ever since, with Putin reportedly purging his top military brass.
The Russian investigative Dossier Centre shared documents with CNN revealing Surovikin and 30 other senior military and intelligence officials are actually highly-ranked members of the mercenary organisation.
READ MORE:Wagner Group ‘still fighting in Ukraine’ despite Putin kicking mercenaries out
Whether VIP members of the group gain financial benefit or any other privileges continues to be unclear but the documents raise further questions about the close relations between senior members of the Russian military and Wagner.
Last weekend, Prigozhin’s men succeeded in usurping the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, with minimal resistance from the Russian army.
It was after this rebellion the Russian general was reportedly arrested and is believed to be under interrogation in Lefortovo jail in Moscow, on suspicion that he knew about the armed revolt.
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Reports suggest Surovikin did have knowledge of Prigozhin’s plans to topple Putin’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the Armed Forces General Valery Gerasimov.
If this is true, he would face up to 20 years in prison on a treason charge.
Whispers are spreading about his whereabouts without any confirmation yet, as earlier this week, pro-war military blogger Vladimir Romanov said Surovikin had been detained in the Lefortovo detention center just hours after Prigozhin’s mutiny.
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A source told the Moscow Times: “Apparently, he [Surovikin] chose the side [of Prigozhin during the rebellion], and they grabbed him by the balls.”
Another person close to the Russian Defence Ministry also claimed Surovikin had been arrested.
On Thursday, the Kremlin declined to answer questions about the vanished Russian General, and directed questions about him to the Russian Defence Ministry.
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