Wagner commander accuses top Russian Defense leadership of treason and leaving the Russian army naked and without ammunition!
In his latest statement, issued on Tuesday, the leader of the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, didn’t criticize the Russian Defense Ministry or senior Russian officials in the security sector, or army generals, as is customary.
Indeed, Prigozhin raised the bar and accused the Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, and the Chief of Staff, Valery Gerasimov, of treason, of leaving his fighters, who are fighting fierce battles and are being killed by hundreds every day naked and without sufficient ammunition in Donbas.
Prigozhin statement revealed the struggle of the wings that until now remained hidden within the walls of the Kremlin.
In late January, Prigozhin announced the fall of Solidar in Donetsk, and only a short while later, photos of him with his fighters went viral, which pro-Russian bloggers said were taken in the town’s salt mines.
On the ground, controlling Solidar allowed the Russian forces to advance towards Bakhmut.
At that time, Prigozhin adopted the Russian victory, and said that his forces stormed the town alone and weren’t supported by the Russian army.
Also at that time, experts said that the Wagner leader was marketing himself as a leader who visited his fighters on the front, just as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did previously, adding that this didn’t please the senior army leaders.
When Prigozhin declared victory in Solidar, a statement was issued by the Russian Defense Ministry that contradicted what the man was saying.
In a statement consistent with the statement of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, and in a very strange irony, the Kremlin stressed the importance of not rushing to declare victory in Solidar, in a veiled message to Prigozhin.
In the past, Prigozhin, who never misses an opportunity to market himself, has told his fighters that once we overcome Russia’s internal bureaucracy and corruption, “we will invade the Ukrainians and NATO”.
The man who’s close to Vladimir Putin takes the opportunity every time to criticize the ruling military elite.
There are many tweeters who said that Prigozhin is presenting himself as a successor to Putin, while observers said that he wants to show his military group as an effective and essential force in the war.
Other analysts said Prigozhin was fighting his own war in Ukraine after he had mocked in the past the corruption and corrupt and incompetent hierarchy in Russia’s military.
Data and reports indicate a conflict between Prigozhin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is also close to Putin, over defense contracts.
The first is considered the second the head of corruption.
In January, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the appointment of General Valery Gerasimov as commander of military operations in Ukraine.
General Gerasimov is one of the most prominent close associates of Shoigu, who doesn’t have a good relationship with the Wagner leader, as previously indicated.
Last January, General Alexander Lapin was appointed chief of staff of the Russian Land Forces.
Lapin was one of Prigozhin’s victims in the past, as the leader of the Wagner Group criticized him severely.
At the time, experts saw Gerasimov and Lapin’s appointment as a message to Prigozhin: “Don’t mess with the army”.
On the other hand, there are those who say that Prigozhin’s goals aren’t only military.
A senior US official told Reuters after taking control of Solidar that the Wagner leader was willing to sacrifice a thousand men in order to control the salt and gypsum mines in the region.
The official added that the financial motive may explain Prigozhin’s obsession with controlling the region, which the latter denied through his Telegram channel, speaking of historical epics that his forces control.
It’s known that Bakhmut salt deposits are huge and of high purity.
Before the war, tourists could visit the vast cellars, which included a football field, church, labyrinths and a concert hall.
The United States has previously accused Wagner Group of exploiting natural resources in African countries, including the Central African Republic, Mali and Sudan, to help fund Moscow’s war in Ukraine.