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Putin claims Wagner militants were fully funded by state

by Martin Fornusek June 27, 2023 6:55 PM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech to the graduates of military schools at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on June 21, 2023. (Photo by EGOR ALEEV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner Group was fully financed by the state, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on June 27.

The private military company allegedly received over 86 billion rubles ($1 billion) from the state's budget between May 2022 and May 2023, Putin said in a recorded address to military personnel.

The restaurant and catering company Concord, also owned by Prigozhin, earned 80 billion rubles ($940 million) for supplying the military, Putin added.

"I hope that nobody stole anything, or at least did not steal much, but we will deal with that," Putin said in a jab at the warlord's businesses.

For years, Russia has attempted to distance itself from the mercenary outfit, acccussed of committing war crimes in a number of countries worldwide.

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Wagner Group mercenaries have been fighting Russian wars in Syria, Ukraine, Central African Republic, Libya, Sudan and several other countries.

The Kremlin-controlled mercenary outfit, is notorious for its atrocities in Syria and other countries, and most recently in Ukraine.

In Ukraine, Wagner mercenaries have been recorded beheading POWs, and killing them after saying, "Slava Ukraini! (Glory to Ukraine)," a Ukrainian national salute.

The Wagner Group's founder launched an armed rebellion against the Russian government on June 23. His mercenaries occupied the city of Rostov and marched on Moscow, only to abruptly end the insurrection on June 24.

After a deal brokered between the government and Prigozhin, Putin announced that Wagner mercenaries will be allowed to leave for Belarus or sign contracts with the regular military.

Earlier on June 27, Russia's Federal Security Service informed that it closed the criminal case over the Wagner group's armed rebellion.

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