Tensions between the Russian army and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the boss of the Wagner Group, whose mercenaries are on the main fronts in Ukraine, are mounting. On Tuesday, the leader of a Russian paramilitary group attacked the army directly. He accused his country’s general staff of committing “treason” by refusing, he said, to provide equipment to the front line in eastern Ukraine. In recent days, he has already thrown the first stone into the pond, saying that the city of Bakhmut cannot be taken for several weeks due to the imperfect logistics of the Russian army. He also explained that these people did not have shovels to dig trenches around Bakhmut.
“The chief of staff and the defense minister are issuing orders at all costs asking not only not to give ammunition to the Wagner paramilitary group, but also not to help it with air transport,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a voice recording published by his press. service in Telegram. A ostentatious attack against Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, two of Vladimir Putin’s top power figures, is clearly an escalation.
The Russian Ministry of Defense responded with a statement detailing the amount of ammunition supplied to “volunteer assault units”. “All requests for ammunition for assault units are being met as soon as possible,” the ministry assured, promising new supplies from Saturday and calling reports of shortages in this area “absolutely false”. In addition, the ministry once again hailed the “courage” and “self-sacrifice” of the Russian “volunteers” in battle and condemned the “attempts to split” which are “counterproductive and play only to the benefit of the enemy.”
Over 200 million euros in the last four years
However, this will probably not be enough to put out the fire. The businessman, who was once a Kremlin kitchen installer (hence his nickname “Putin’s chef”), was a man in the shadows for years before coming more and more into the light after founding a mercenary group Wagner in 2014. considered the United States as a criminal organization.
Prigozhin and his troops were sent to Syria and Africa to do the dirty work for Russia. While carelessly using local resources. Prigozhin has earned more than 200 million euros over the past four years from oil, gas and minerals. Enough to make Prigozhin now an almost indispensable financial and military backbone for Putin.
Wagner, who had recruited thousands of prisoners for the war in Ukraine, had led the assault on Bakhmut since the summer. It was his people who managed to conquer the area, while the Russian army with conscripts suffered serious setbacks on the ground.
Except that this meteoric rise of Prigozhin poses a direct threat to the military hierarchy and perhaps even to the Kremlin. Will Moscow, feeling the wind of a bullet, begin to whistle the end of the game of this collaborationism, preventing, in particular, Wagner from recruiting prisoners who will go to the front in exchange for an amnesty? Or will Prigogine feel strong enough to move his pawns further to get closer to power? Two days before the anniversary of the Russian invasion, this issue promises to become increasingly important.
Source: Le Parisien
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