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Evgeny Prigozhin claims Russian Defense Ministry has tried twice to ‘destroy’ Wagner Group
Wagner Group founder Evgeny Prigozhin said in an audio recording published Tuesday that the Russian Defense Ministry has twice tried to “destroy” his paramilitary cartel. The clip was posted by Prigozhin’s press service.
“We’re not just talking about some interference, we’re talking about physical, intentional destruction. Both then and now,” the tycoon says in the recording.
According to Prigozhin, the Russian military’s most recent attempt to sabotage Wagner Group came during the battle for control of Bakhmut, when the Defense Ministry allegedly “tried to close [Wagner fighters in the city] with no weapons.”
The first attempt, he said, came on February 8, 2018, when Wagner fighters were attacking ISIS positions in Syria and suffered heavy losses at the hands of the U.S. Air Force. Prigozhin insists in the recording that the U.S. had repeatedly warned Russia’s military commanders that it was preparing an airstrike in the area so they could remove their units from the impact zone but that nobody notified Wagner Group.
Prigozhin also says in the clip that he believes the ministry's attempts to “destroy” Wagner Group were motivated by envy, and that Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu’s personality played a significant role: “This is a person who can’t stand it when somebody does something better than him. So he wants everyone to go around kissing his feet, but Wagner Group has never done that,” he says.
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