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Prigozhin accuses Russian army of attacking Wagner, threatens to respond

by Oleksiy Sorokin June 23, 2023 10:04 PM 2 min read
Wagner mercenary group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin speaks in a video filmed in front of dozens of corpses, allegedly of Wagner fighters killed in Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, published on May 5, 2023. (Telegram)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Check out our LIVE UPDATES on the Wagner Group’s armed rebellion in Russia.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, chief of the Wagner Group mercenaries, said Russian Defense Ministry attacked the group's bases in the rear.

"A missile attack was launched on the camps of Wagner Group. Many victims. According to eyewitnesses, the attack was launched from the rear, meaning it was launched by the Russian Defense Ministry," Prigozhin said in an audio message shared by his press service.

"This bastard will be stopped," he added,  referring to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

"We were ready to make concessions to the defense ministry, to surrender our weapons, to find a solution on how we would continue to defend the country. But these scumbags did not calm down," Prigozhin said.

"We have 25,000 (soldiers), and we're going to figure out why there's chaos in the country," he said. "Everyone, who is willing, join us."

Russian Defense Ministry issued a response, saying that it didn't attack Wagner Group's bases, calling Prigozhin's statements "a provocation."

According to Russia's state-controlled media Ria Novosti, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) opened a criminal investigation after Prigozhin's "call for insurrection."

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Private armies are illegal in Russia, so naturally, Moscow has been using them for decades. Now, it’s making them the main invasion force. The rate at which Russia creates new private military company-like units sped up after 2014 but it really took off during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine,

Prigozhin's Wagner Group has been taking an active part in Russia's full-scale war, focusing on capturing Bakhmut.

To achieve its goals, the mercenary outfit began to recruit Russian prisoners, promising them freedom after six months on the front. At the same time, Prigozhin actively criticized the Russian Defense Minister Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov for negligence and lack of support.

Wagner soon lost access to the prisons, and despite progress, it still hasn't captured all of Bakhmut.

Despite the ongoing spat, the Russian military, together with the Wagner mercenaries, captured Bakhmut by May 20.

Prigozhin soon said the mercenary outfit will pass control of the city to the Russian Defense Ministry and pull out.

Despite that, the conflict didn't end, with Prigozhin continuing to publicly attack Russian Defense Ministry, going as far as saying that Russia started the entire all-out war for "oligarchs' enrichment."

He blamed the Russian Defense Ministry for "slaughtering thousands of young guys (soldiers)" because of poor planning.

On June 11, Shoigu signed a decree forcing all "military volunteer formations" to sign contracts with the Defense Ministry. The move was seen as an attempt to bring Wagner mercenaries under Russian military's control.

Prigozhin said he won't follow Shoigu's orders.

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