Wagner's Prigozhin says Zelensky, CIA discussed assassinating him

The leader of the Wagner mercenary group has made claims that Ukrainian and American leadership has taken action to "liquidate" him.

 Visitors pose for a picture outside PMC Wagner Centre, which is a project implemented by the businessman and founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block in Saint Petersburg, Russia, November 4, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/IGOR RUSSAK)
Visitors pose for a picture outside PMC Wagner Centre, which is a project implemented by the businessman and founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block in Saint Petersburg, Russia, November 4, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/IGOR RUSSAK)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the CIA had discussed the assassination of Wagner mercenary group head Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch claimed on Tuesday morning.

In response to a question on a supposed assassination plot, Prigozhin said that his press service had made him aware of such a discussion, and joked that it was "a very good idea."

"I agree that it is time to liquidate Prigozhin. If they contact me, I will certainly assist,” Prigozhin said according to his press service.

Press Secretary Dimitry Peskov referred Russian outlet RIA to the Russian special services when asked about an assassination plot, but wouldn't rule out the validity of the news.

"Ukraine is related to assassination attempts and a completely monstrous murder - let’s remember all the same those assassination attempts that took place: the murder of [journalist Darya Dugina and so on," Peskov told RIA. "Therefore, the involvement of the Kyiv regime in such assassination attempts is obvious, therefore there is such a danger for our citizens."

 Wagner private military group centre opens in St Petersburg (credit: REUTERS) Wagner private military group centre opens in St Petersburg (credit: REUTERS)

Strategically planned assassinations

Dugina, daughter of political theorist Alexander Dugin, was killed in a car bombing near Moscow in August. According to Reuters the Russian FSB security service has accused Ukrainian intelligence of masterminding her murder, which Kyiv has denied.

Prigozhin had written to White House national security spokesperson John Kirby on Friday after announcing that the Wagner private military company (PMC) would be designated a significant Transnational Criminal Organization. The Wagner head refuted the claims, demanding clarification on the crimes that the group had committed.

Kirby said that Wagner had received an arms shipment from North Korea on behalf of Russia, which would be used by Kremlin forces in Ukraine. Wagner has long been supporting the Russian war effort against Ukraine and was responsible for the Kremlin's battlefield advances.

On Monday evening US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the designation came as part of "a broader discussion about the destabilizing influence that the Wagner Group is having, not only in Ukraine, but in other parts of the world, including in parts of Africa."

"We’re reaching for every appropriate and effective authority when it comes to countering the activity that the Wagner Group is engaged in," said Price. "When it comes to what we announced about our forthcoming plans for the Wagner Group, the activity that we’ve seen on the part of the Wagner Group allows us to meet that threshold that is established under the transnational criminal organization authority."

Price said that the US had a broader set of actions that it would announce later that week, but did not detail them.