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Jenny Goldsberry, Social Media Producer


NextImg:CIA Chief claims Wagner rebellion was proof of Putin's 'corrosive' regime


CIA Chief William Burns shared his takeaways on Saturday from the short-lived Wagner Rebellion from last week.

Burns gave remarks at the Ditchley Foundation in Oxfordshire, England, relaying the impact Yevgeny Prigozhin has left behind in Russia despite his failed rebellion and being subsequently exiled to Belarus.

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As the head of the CIA, Burns recently made the rounds to Russian officials to assure them that the US was not involved in the rebellion. His remarks on Saturday were his first in public, reiterating the same message.

"It is striking that Prigozhin preceded his actions with a scathing indictment of the Kremlin's mendacious rationale for its invasion of Ukraine, and of the Russian military leadership's conduct of the war," Burns said. "The impact of those words and those actions will play out for some time, a vivid reminder of the corrosive effect of Putin's war on his own society and his own regime."

According to Burns, a former ambassador to Russia among other diplomatic roles, the CIA sees the current situation as a "once-in-generation opportunity" for recruiting Russians experiencing "disaffection" as a result of the war in Ukraine. He mentioned a video campaign the agency launched via Telegram as a form of recruitment.

"We're very much open for business," Burns said.

The Defense Department shared a similar sentiment earlier this week.

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"We continue to see some elements of the Wagner group in Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine," Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said on Thursday.

Russia's Federal Security Service said it will drop its case against the Wagner fighters who participated in the short rebellion.