The head of the Wagner Group praises the performance of his forces in Ukraine
In a veiled criticism of the Russian army, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian Wagner group, praised the effectiveness of his forces in Ukraine, where they are often active in competition with the Russian army, stressing their independence and their submission to fierce discipline.
Prigozhin explained in a video released by his media on Saturday evening the reasons that allowed Wagner fighters to take control of the city of Solidar in eastern Ukraine, which Kyiv still denies its fall.
Prigozhin confirmed that his fighters are experienced in combat and achieve all their goals independently because they have their own planes, artillery and armored vehicles.
“The most important thing is the leadership system, which has been fully developed,” Prigozhin added, stressing that “the Wagner Group listens to everyone, everyone can express his opinion”.
Prigozhin’s comments appear to be a considered as veiled criticism of Russia’s top military leadership at a time when it faces accusations, including from some supporters of President Vladimir Putin, of a lack of coordination and detachment from the reality on the ground.
Prigozhin repeatedly criticized the leaders of the Russian forces over the past months, especially when Ukraine achieved military victories in the regions of Kharkiv and Kherson.
On Friday, the Russian army announced the control of the town of Solidar, without mentioning the Wagner fighters in the first stage, which prompted Prigozhin to denounce, through his media, the continuous attempts to rob the victories of Wagner group.
In a rare gesture, the Russian Ministry of Defense later issued a statement praising the courage of Wagner’s operatives in Solidar.
The Wagner Group, founded in 2014, has recruited thousands of prisoners to fight in Russia in exchange for reduced sentences.
In an indication of his escalating influence, Prigozhin, 61, admitted in September that he is the founder of Wagner, after he had denied it for years.
Yevgeny Prigozhin regularly visits the Ukrainian Front and makes statements actively through his media.