Former Russian commander in Ukraine says Putin could be overthrown by the Wagner mercenary army

A split image of Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of a Russian mercenary group known as Wagner (left), and Russian President Vladimir PutinMikhail Svetlov/Contributor via Getty Images
  • A former Federal Security Service officer said Putin could be overthrown by Wagner.

  • The Wagner Army is Putin's private military army, largely made up of mercenaries.

  • The Army chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, could pose an active threat to Putin, said the war analyst.

Vladimir Putin could be ousted by Russia's private military group, the Wagner army, according to Igor Girkin, a former Federal Security Service officer who once led a group of Russian militants in Donetsk.

Girkin, who is also known by his alias "Strelkov" and is now a prominent war blogger , said that Wagner's chief Yevgeny Prigozhin could overthrow the Russian president, the Daily Mail reported.

"If Prigozhin remains the head of Wagner, the mutiny will come quickly and radically," Girkin said in a video shared by WarTranslated.

"A coup attempt has been declared...What will happen next, I don't know, especially as Wagner is urgently withdrawn to rear bases...The danger of a looming coup is clear."

Prigozhin, who was once close with Putin, has in recent months repeatedly criticised Russian defense ministry. Last week he said that Ukraine has gained more troops and more weapons since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The Wagner founder added to his feud with Russia's public leaders when he claimed that the Ukraine war had backfired, according to The Hill. He counted large losses to the Wagner Group in their pursuit of Bakhmut, as well as the Ukrainian army's strength, while suggesting that Russia's top leadership should be changed.

Girkin has been critical of the impact of the invasion of Ukraine on Russia.

In a YouTube manifesto last month, reported on by the Ukrainian newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda, Girkin said that the situation on the frontline has an "extremely negative" impact on the Russia's ability to win the war.

"I'm not afraid to say that we are heading towards military defeat," Girkin said, adding that the Russian economy, military, and political system were unprepared for such a "long, protracted war."

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