Days after the Wagner Group, a private military group in Russia, warned President Vladimir Putin of going all out to topple his military, the group’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has said that they will de-escalate their approach and move to Belarus to “avoid bloodshed”.
Reportedly, Prigozhin is also a former ally of Putin and when the warning came, Putin stated that his “friend” had backstabbed him. As the situation continues to be fragile in the country, let’s delve into who the Prigozhin is and why his group launched an attack on Russia’s military.
Who Is Yevgeny Prigozhin?
Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group’s warning to Putin is considered to be the most audacious since Vladimir Putin launched an offensive invasion of Ukraine last year.
Well, the confidant of Putin, is a Russian oligarch and a mercenary chief. He is also known as “Putin’s chef” for he owns a restaurant and catering companies that provide services to the Kremlin.
He was once a convict in the Soviet Union, however, now he controls a group of influential companies, three of which are accused of interference in the 2016 and 2018 US elections.
Born in Leningrad, Prigozhin had a difficult childhood as he lived in a juvenile detention centre, however, was later released. Reportedly, he founded the Wagner Group in 2014 and since then, it has been involved in conflicts in Syria, Libya, and Ukraine. Furthermore, his private military group is accused of abusing human rights, torturing, and summary executions.
It is also believed that Prigozhin is the one behind the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm that was accused of meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections. The group allegedly disseminated pro-Trump propaganda while sowing discord among American voters.
He has been sanctioned by the US and European Union for his anti-national activities and is also under investigation by the US Department of Justice for potential criminal charges.
About The Wagner Group
The Wagner Group, formally known as PMC Wagner, is a Russian paramilitary organisation that acts outside of Russian law. It is essentially a private military corporation and mercenary network.
It was a shadowy organisation that predominantly operated in Africa and the Middle East in 2014. According to media accounts, the organisation was supposed to contain 5,000 warriors from Russia’s elite battalions and special forces.
However, the UK Ministry of Defence reported in January that the Wagner Group currently has 50,000 fighters in Ukraine and has become a crucial component of the Ukraine operation. The Wagner Group is claimed to have had a role in Russia’s conquest of Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine.
Why Is It Fighting With Russia?
In January of this year, Prigozhin claimed sole credit for conquering the Ukrainian salt-mining town of Soledar, accusing the Russian Defence Ministry of attempting to take Wagner’s glory.
He has often claimed that the Russian military has not provided Wagner with enough ammunition to seize Bakhmut and has threatened to withdraw his soldiers. He has also targeted Shoigu with harsh criticism, accusing Russian military commanders of incompetence. His frequent criticisms are extraordinary in Russia’s strictly controlled political system, where such criticism could only come from Putin.
It was because of these claims by the Wagner Group and its head that it warned Putin, his friend, of toppling his state’s military in any case possible.
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This post is tagged under: Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner Group chief, Russian military, Ukraine, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Volodymyr Zelensky
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