CIA Director William Burns called Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Sergey Naryshkin this week to tell him that the US had nothing to do with the mutiny attempt by the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC), The Wall Street Journal said on Friday citing its sources.
According to them, the phone conversation between Burns and Naryshkin was the highest-level interaction between the US and Russia since the incident. The conversation, initiated by the American side, aimed to deliver a message that the US “had no involvement” in Wagner founder Evgeny Prigozhin’s actions and did not intend to exacerbate tensions in Russia, the newspaper writes, noting that the conversation took place this week.
According to the newspaper, Burns told Naryshkin that the US had no role in the mutiny and the incident was Russia’s internal affair.
On the evening of June 23, several audio recordings were posted on the Telegram channel of Wagner PMC founder Yevgeny Prigozhin. In particular, he claimed that his units had come under attack, blaming the Russian military. The Russian Defense Ministry slammed the Wagner boss’ allegations of a strike on the PMC’s “rear camps” as fake news. The PMC units that supported Prigozhin headed to Rostov-on-Don and toward Moscow. The Federal Security Service (FSB) opened a criminal case on calls for armed mutiny. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a televised address to the nation on June 24, described the Wagner group’s actions as armed mutiny and a betrayal.
Later on June 24, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, in coordination with Putin, held talks with Prigozhin, resulting in the PMC standing down, turning its units around, and retreating to their base camps. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Russian authorities pledged not to prosecute those Wagner PMC fighters who took part in the mutiny in light of their “frontline achievements.” The criminal case on armed mutiny was dropped, the FSB said.