“I’m not too worried about America’s actions,” Prigozhin was quoted as saying on Wagner’s press channel this afternoon. According to him, the Americans are indeed “a serious enemy, but not the most important at this time”. On the other hand, what is most harmful to the Wagner group is “our internal struggle, corruption, bureaucracy and bureaucrats who want to stay”.
Prigogine also complains: “Recently there has been a serious effort to ban the phrase ‘Wagner’ in the media, not to say it aloud and avoid it like the plague”. “They constantly try to steal success from the Wagner boys, underestimating their merits to the presence of strangers.” However, it is his mercenaries who “do the hard work so that the Russians can sleep well”.
With Prigozhin’s heavy blow, the rivalry between the ‘regular’ Russian military, which relies on the Ministry of Defense and the Wagner Group, is moving towards a boiling point. The Wagner mercenaries fight After several months in and around the Ukrainian town of Bachmoet, they achieved their first victory this week in Soledar, ten kilometers north of Bachmoet. Prigozhin has long criticized the regular military, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and the bureaucracy and corruption he says have played a role in the military.
Many analysts believe that Prigozhin mainly wanted to increase his prestige within the Kremlin, along with the repeated attacks on Soledar and Bachmut, combined with criticism of the military. On Wednesday, Prigozhin claimed that Solidar had already fallen, a claim later denied by the Defense Ministry. Moscow claimed victory this morning, but Prigozhin did his best on Wednesday to make it clear that only Wagner fighters were involved in the battle for Solidar, without spending a single word on Wagner.
Conflict between Prigozhin and the Russian security elite may have also played a role General Sergey Surovikhin was replaced by Supreme Commander Valery Gerasimov Wednesday night as commander of Russian forces in Ukraine.
Strike: After Prigozhin’s angry comments, the Kremlin was forced to send a “clarification” tonight. On the official Telegram channel of the Ministry of Defense, a message appeared for “clarification” about the “composition and participation of various factions in the liberation of the city of Solidar.” The Ministry of Defense insists that the attacks “were carried out according to a plan, carried out by various Russian troops”. The regular army carried out various parts of that plan, but “as for the direct attack on the Ukrainian occupiers (sic) in the urban districts of Soledar, this war mission was successfully accomplished by the brave and selfless action of the volunteers of the assault units of the Wagner group.
Meanwhile, Ukraine continues to insist that the city, known for its salt mines, is not yet fully under Russian control. A Ukrainian soldier in the nearby town of Bakhmut told CNN that army units were still holed up on the outskirts of Soledar. However, a reporter for the American channel said he saw what appeared to be an organized retraction of what he had said. Images on social media show the Russians taking control of the entire village.
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