Wagner calls on Russian military command to ‘stop’ after Moscow denies deadly strikes

The leader of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner accused the Russian military on Friday of carrying out deadly attacks on his fighters’ camps behind the Ukrainian front, and called for an uprising against the military command amid the conflict in Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry quickly denied his allegations.

The attacks resulted in “a very large number of victims”, said Wagner’s boss, who has been denouncing the Russian military’s recklessness in its operations in Ukraine for several months. Yevgeny Prigozhin said in an audio message, “They launched attacks, missile attacks on our rear camps. A very large number of our fighters were killed.”

According to him, he promised to “respond” to these attacks ordered by the Russian Defense Minister.

These allegations “on alleged+ attacks by the Russian Defense Ministry on the rear bases of the paramilitary group Wagner+ do not correspond to reality and are a provocation”, the Russian Defense Ministry responded in a press release.

This new exchange between the two entities at the heart of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine again dramatically highlights the deep tensions within Russian forces on Ukrainian soil.

The war in Ukraine: the situation as of June 23 (AFP – Clea Peculiar, Valentin Rakovsky, Sophie Ramis)

Wagner’s boss said in an audio message, “The Wagner Group command committee has decided that those who have a military responsibility to the country must be stopped.” He called for no “resistance” to his troops and assured Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that Shoigu would be “stopped”.

He drove home his point by claiming to have “25,000” fighters. He called on Russians to “join them”. “We are 25,000 and we are going to determine why the country is in chaos (…) Our strategic reserves are the whole army and the whole country”, Evgeny Prigogine declared in an audio message, “to end the chaos”. called upon. ,

-Contradictory comments-

Russian forces are retreating in several areas of southern and eastern Ukraine, Wagner’s boss indicated earlier on Friday, contradicting the Kremlin’s claim that the Kiev counteroffensive had failed.

“(Russian) forces are retreating in Zaporizhia and Kherson (South) regions, Ukrainian armed forces are advancing,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a video interview posted on Telegram by his press service.

“The same is happening in Bakhmaut, the enemy will penetrate deeper into our defenses,” said the businessman, referring to an eastern city. ,

“There is no control, no military success” from Moscow, once again scolding Mr. Prigogine, affirming that Russian soldiers “wash themselves with their own blood”, a way of claiming that they Heavy damage has been done.

A Ukrainian gunner and shells from propellant charge boxes in the Donetsk region on June 23, 2023 (AFP - Zhenya Savilov)
A Ukrainian gunner and shells from propellant charge boxes in the Donetsk region on June 23, 2023 (AFP – Zhenya Savilov)

Unverified by an independent source, Wagner’s boss’s words in any case contradict those of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Sergei Shoigu, according to whom the Russian military “repels” all Ukrainian attacks.

In recent days, Mr Putin has reiterated that the Ukrainian counter-offensive had failed and that Kiev’s forces had suffered “catastrophic” losses. On Thursday, Mr Shoigu assured that Ukrainian forces were in the process of “regrouping” after failing to break through Russian defences.

Mr. Prigogine described the Russian Defense Ministry’s victory announcements as a “deep hoax”, accusing staff of “hiding” difficulties and Russian losses on the ground.

However, there is evidence that the Ukrainian counter-offensive is being taken very seriously by Moscow, with Mr. Putin speaking several times over the past few days on the situation on the battlefield, while he has expanded on what happened there in recent months. There was a tendency not to comment. ,

While many dissidents and anonymous Russians remain in jail for criticizing the conflict in Ukraine, Wagner’s leader on Friday openly questioned the reasons for which the military intervention was launched.

He criticized, “the war was necessary to promote a bunch of bastards”, he also accused the “Russian oligarchs” who “needed the war”, while according to him Kiev was “not ready for any compromise”. Was”.

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