The leader of the Russian mercenary group Yevgeny Prigozhin appeared to have laughed at claims of a plot to assassinate him, describing it as “a very good idea”.
Russian politician Vladimir Rogov has claimed – without providing evidence – that Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the CIA director discussed killing the tycoon.
Once dubbed “Putin’s chef”, Prigozhin is the head of the Wagner Group, which recruits prisoners to fight in Ukraine.
Mr. Rogov, president of a Russian organization in occupied Zaporizhzhia, told state media on Tuesday: “Prigozhin is efficient and killing him would make a lot of sense, considering the composition of the media and how they turned their victory around.
“People inside of Zelenskyy and a sizable number of people know about this request to demand, and even ask, the Americans to kill Prigozhin.”
It comes after Prigozhin clashed with his longtime ally Vladimir Putin over the capture of Soledar in Ukraine.
He claimed that Wagner Group forces were solely responsible for capturing the town, while Mr. Putin attributed the success to the Russian military.
The Institute for the Study of War has noted that Prigozhin’s criticisms of the Russian Defense Ministry have become increasingly brazen in recent weeks.
In response to claims of an assassination plot on Tuesday, Mr. Prigozhin was quoted by his press service as saying: “Yes, I know. The press service told me about it.
“That’s a very good idea. I agree that it’s time to get rid of Prigozhin.
“In case they ask me, I will definitely provide support.”
It came as the Guardian reported that British lawyers had been given permission by the government to bypass sanctions to help Mr Prigozhin sue a journalist, according to documents provided to the website Open Democracy.