Putin’s cook – or rather his private jet – is at the center of a diplomatic dispute between the United States and Europe.
No, it’s not the right coffee that plays a bad joke: the title is right. The stone of the scandal, in this complex geopolitical story, is the luxury private jet owned by Evgenij Prigozin, also known as “Putin cook”, parked from October 29, 2020 at Berlin Schönefeld Airport, Germany. For the United States, this extended layover does not go down.
Well, some in-depth explanation is definitely a must. In fact, Prigozhin’s role goes beyond simple gastronomy: he is the founder and owner of the Wagner militia, the private army that deals with events too dirty for the Kremlin, and, according to a German intelligence report, also being behind a fake news company that for years has been spreading pro-Russian propaganda on Western social networks on Internet. In short, it’s not exactly a saint’s chin: as if that weren’t enough, he’s still wanted by the FBI for trying to interfere with the 2016 American lessons, which he won Donald Trump. Moreover, Prigozhin’s name appears on the list of personal advertising sanctions launched by the United States and the European Union against Moscow, which prevents the indicated individuals from entering Europe and allows law enforcement agencies to confiscate their assets.
So it is understood that the US government asked the German government to reserve the plane. It is a pity, however, that time is wasted in Berlin wandering through the bush and debating what to do, but without taking any action. The problem (or excuse, according to the Americans) is that the plane belongs to a shell company, which in fact turns out to be a shell company controlled by Uni Jet, another company he heads Artem Stepanov, loyal to our “cook” and the pilot of the plane in question at the time of its landing in Berlin. Headache? Well, it’s not over yet. The German government is divided between who is willing to accept the American request and who is wisely against it, and in order to stall, a customs procedure has been opened to check the status of the aircraft’s maintenance. After all, we are in Germany: business efficiency above all.
Corriere della Sera
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