Galeotti said: “I think we can safely describe this as a hit.”

“This could be a warning, or taking a pawn off the board, or a sign that Mr Prigozhin’s more thuggish rivals feel he is weakened enough that they can move.”

Mangushev provoked some ire last year, when footage emerged of him waving a skull of a Ukrainian soldier killed on stage in Mariupol.

The twisted ultranationalist said: “Why can’t there be any reconciliation?”

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.