Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin speaks of the "chaos" in the Russian Ministry of Defense and thinks aloud about deploying his mercenary army on the border.
Kiev - Once again, Yevgeny Prigozhin is attacking the Russian military leadership. This time, the stumbling block for the head of the Wagner mercenary force is the situation in the Belgorod border region. The area is under constant fire in the Ukraine war. Partisans repeatedly engage in battles with Russian troops. Thousands of people are already on the run.
According to Prigozhin, the Ministry of Defense of Russia is to blame for the situation. "The ministry is not in a position to do anything. There is chaos in the ministry," said the Wagner boss, according to the dpa news agency on Saturday. If the regular units of the Russian military do not succeed in "putting order as quickly as possible," Prigozhin would send his own troops to the region. "A conquest of the area is already underway there," Prigozhin said. "Peaceful people are dying." The population needs protection. "We will not wait for an invitation," Prigozhin stressed. However, the Russian military must provide ammunition. "Otherwise, as they say, we'll be sitting on the frost with our bare asses."
Yevgeny Prigozhin, here in front of the city of Bakhmut, threatens to send his troops to Belgorod. © HANDOUT/AFP
Prigozhin claims to have resolved conflict with Kadyrov
Prigozhin is still considered a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the 62-year-old oligarch, once known as "Putin's cook," leaves little opportunity to discredit the rest of Russia's leadership. Especially during the Battle of Bakhmut, in the conquest of which Wagner mercenaries played a major role, Prigozhin had complained about a lack of support from the military. His units would not have received the necessary ammunition or supplies. International observers suspect that up to 30,000 Russian soldiers died in the battle for Bakhmut alone.
Prigozhin also spoke about his dispute with Ramzan Kadyrov. The leader of the Chechen Republic had threatened Prigozhin with violence if he did not stop his criticism of the Kremlin. Prigozhin now said that he had spoken with Kadyrov in a telephone conversation and resolved the conflict. But he would not allow himself to be banned from speaking out.
Prigozhin renews criticism of Kremlin over Ukraine war
Prigozhin proved this directly with the next criticism of the Kremlin. He accused parts of the government there of wanting to sow discord between his and Kadyrov's troops. "This is a dangerous game," he said. "We didn't open Pandora's box," Prigozhin said, probably referring to the unfortunate course of the Ukraine war for Russia so far. In order to win the war after all, a general mobilization is necessary, Prigozhin said. (with dpa)