Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Kremlin man subject to Western sanctions after Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine, publicly confessed to forming the Wagner Group and leading this private army. Its mercenaries are currently fighting in Ukraine, previously they fought in Syria and Lebanon, among others.
Earlier, Yevgeny Prigozhin denied being associated with this private military company. He sued the media that informed about it, and the Russian courts agreed with him.
As reported by the Russian section of Radio Swoboda, Prigożyn announced in a press release from his catering company Concord that he founded a mercenary company in 2014, when Russia illegally annexed Crimea and started a war in Ukrainian Donbas.
Fighting on different fronts
Wagner’s mercenaries fought, among others in the Ukrainian Donbas, Syria, in African and Arab countries. It is known that during the ongoing invasion of UkraineThe Wagner Group recruits prisoners from Russian penal coloniesby offering them to leave the bars in exchange for fighting at the front.
The mercenaries of the Wagner Group, known as the “dogs of war”, are famous for their brutal actions. According to reports by independent media, they are “dirty work” people in the army and are responsible for war crimes in Ukraine, Syria, LibyaCentral African Republic.
Prigożyn explained in a release released by Concord that he had previously denied his ties to the mercenary company to “protect its members.”
The businessman tried, inter alia, with the chief of radio Echo of Moscow, Alexei Vieniediktov, and the Meduza portal, he demanded that references to him be removed from publications on the Internet.
Relationship with the authorities
The Meduza website reminds that in 2019 The Bell website published materials from a journalistic investigation in which Prigozhin’s connections with the Russian authorities were indicated. The Bell sources claimed that the Wagner Group was formed on the initiative of the Russian general staff.
In September, recordings appeared in social networks and in the media, showing Prigozhin agitating prisoners in penal colonies to fight in Ukraine. The media decided that these “leaks” had to be agreed with Prigożyn. According to some opinions, this disclosure may indicate that Prigozhin has political ambitions.
The Wagner group has heavy equipment, artillery and military planes at its disposal, Radio Swoboda reported. It is illegal to set up private armies in Russia. The Kremlin denies its links with the Wagner Group.
Main photo source: Mikhail Metzel / TASS / Forum