Yevgeny Prigozhinfounder of wagner groupaccused the Russian Defense Minister and the chief of the General Staff on Tuesday of depriving his fighters of ammunition and trying to destroy the militia of mercenariesactions that, according to him, are equivalent to treason.
Prigozhina former restaurant businessman close to President Putin, has taken on a more public role since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine a year ago, with his wagner group at the head of the battle that Russia has been waging for months over the city of Bakhmutin the Donetsk region of Ukraine.
“There’s just a direct opposition”, Prigozhin said in a voicemail posted on his Telegram channel. This can be equated to high treason”.
It is the second such message posted by Prigozhin in two days. On Monday, he complained that anonymous officials were denying supplies to Wagner out of personal animosity towards him.
Apparently angry, and speaking at times in a loud voice, Prigozhin blamed the Russian Defense Minister, Sergey Shoigualready Valery Gerasimovthe country’s highest-ranking military officer, deliberately causing a shortage of weaponswhich he claimed was causing increased losses among Wagner’s troops fighting around Bakhmut.
“The chief of staff and the defense minister are issuing orders left and right not only not to supply Wagner’s PMC (private military company) with ammunition, but not to help it with air transport,” Prigozhin said.
His words come amid reports of heavy declines in the Group As the battle intensifies Bakhmut.
According to USA, more of 30,000 mercenaries from the Wagner group have died since the start of the war in Ukraine, 9,000 of them since the middle of last December.
The paramilitary organization has been leading the offensive in Donetsk for months. Wagner claims to have captured ground without the help of the regular army, which has led to friction between Wagner and Russian military commanderswhich Prigozhin criticized for being mired in a “monstrous” bureaucracy.
The paramilitary group played a key role in January in the seizure of the nearby Ukrainian town of solderan achievement that was promptly questioned by the Russian Ministry of Defense and sparked a clash with Prigozhinwho accused the ministry of wanting “steal their victory”
Once low-key, Wagner’s boss was long a inseparable ally of the Kremlinfor whom he carried out some commissions.
For years he denied it, but in the end he publicly acknowledged being the founder of the Wagner group, whose paramilitaries have been seen in middle East and in Africa.
He also admitted to having participated in Russian meddling in US elections and having created a “troll farm” to carry out propaganda and disinformation campaigns on the internet.
Prigozhin himself was imprisoned in Russia for nearly a decade, at the end of the Soviet era, and was later a hot dog vendor in St. Petersburg, before rubbing shoulders with the upper echelons as a hotelier.
(With information from Reuters and AFP)
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