Wagner’s boss denounces the fact that high-ranking Russian officials are refusing ammunition to their mercenaries
The head and founder of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, condemned Monday that senior Russian officials, whom he does not identify, knowingly refused to supply ammunition to his fighters fighting alongside Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. The complaint highlights the increasing deterioration in relations between the businessman, who until recently was very close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Kremlin.
Prigozhin, known as Putin’s chef at his catering company that supplied the Kremlin, is playing an increasingly prominent role in Russia’s elite. He denied any connection to the group of mercenaries, who also operated in countries in Africa or Syria, and then admitted that he had started it and had taken an increasingly visible role in the war in Ukraine by announcing that his men were a captured the city without the help of regular troops. But in recent weeks the good harmony seems to have evaporated and last week he openly criticized the “monstrous bureaucracy” of the Russian army. Without them, Russian forces would have already taken the town of Bakhmut, which Russians have been fighting Ukrainian defenders to control for weeks.
This Monday, a very angry Prigozhin confirmed in an audio published by his press service that they asked him to “apologize and obey” in order to ensure the supply of ammunition to his mercenaries. Screaming, he says: “I am unable to solve this problem, despite all my connections and contacts.”
It claims that Russian military production is currently sufficient to supply its troops on the frontlines and that its fighters’ supply difficulties are the result of conscious choices. “Those who interfere with our attempts to win the war are working absolutely and directly for the enemy,” he says over the audio. Prigozhin says the officers who deny him ammunition “eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on golden plates” and send their relatives on vacation to Dubai.
Prigozhin’s rivalry with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, a staunch Putin ally whom he backed decades ago in his assault on power in Russia, is well known. He has repeatedly criticized the way the campaign in Ukraine was conducted and accused him of trying to hang up medals corresponding to the Wagner militia.
The White House last week assured that the group had suffered 30,000 casualties in Ukraine since the invasion began, including 9,000 dead, and confirmed that 90% of those killed were former prisoners, to whom Wagner offered their freedom in exchange for six months of military service. (Portal)