A close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that Russia has been interfering in American elections.
Oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has longstanding links to the Kremlin and is referred to as “Vladimir Putin’s chef,” said in a Telegram post on Monday that Russia has been manipulating US federal elections in response to a reporter’s question, according to CNN.
“I will answer you very subtly, and delicately and I apologize, I will allow a certain ambiguity. Gentlemen, we interfered, we interfere and we will interfere,” Prigozhin said. “Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how. During our pinpoint operations, we will remove both kidneys and the liver at once.”
While Prigozhin is not a Russia official, his admission was the first time a figure with close ties to Putin and the Kremlin has admitted that Russia has interfered in US elections. Prigozhin is considered one of Putin’s closest allies, and has catered events for the Kremlin and the Russian army in the past.
It was not certain if Prigozhin’s comments were meant to be taken seriously or his attempt at sarcasm. But the oligarch is currently under US sanctions for his funding of the Internet Research Agency, a Russian misinformation collective that allegedly interfered in multiple US elections.
He was also charged in 2018 with conspiracy to defraud the United States by special counsel Robert Mueller for allegedly meddling in the 2016 election.