The Head of the Wagner Group Challenges Russian Military Leadership and Propaganda: Insights on the Ukrainian War

2023-06-23 17:40:17

Status: 06/23/2023 7:40 p.m

The head of the Wagner group Prigozhin has again attacked the Russian army leadership – and even questioned the official Russian justification for the war. Moscow’s reports of success are also “total nonsense”.

The head of the Russian Wagner mercenary force, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has once again lashed out at the military leadership in Moscow – and questioned their official reasons for the war. Contrary to Russian propaganda claims, Prigozhin said in a video that Russia was not at all threatened by Ukraine before the war began in February 2022. The alleged “insane aggression” on the part of Kiev and NATO never happened.

“The defense ministry is trying to deceive the president and the public,” said Prigozhin, who has been locked in an internal power struggle with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for months. “The military special operation was started for completely different reasons.” Then the Wagner boss added: “The war was necessary for Shoigu to receive the title of Marshal. (…) And not to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine.” In addition, Russian and pro-Russian oligarchs hoped for benefits from the war, said Prigozhin.

Russia repeatedly justifies its war of aggression with the propaganda claim that it is ridding the neighboring country of alleged “neo-Nazis”. Another pretext for war is the unsupported claim that Kiev intended to use NATO to attack Moscow.

Success reports are “total nonsense”

In addition, Prigozhin, whose fighters were recently involved in the capture of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, also made serious allegations against the Russian army with regard to the ongoing Ukrainian counter-offensive. The daily success reports about allegedly repelled Ukrainian offensives are “complete, total nonsense”.

According to Prigozhin, the Ukrainian army’s counter-offensive forced Moscow’s troops to retreat in some regions. The Russian army is retreating on the Zaporizhia and Cherson fronts, said Prigozhin – and openly contradicted Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had repeatedly spoken of the failure of the Ukrainian counter-offensive.

“What they tell us is a bitter deception”

“The armed forces of Ukraine are pushing back the Russian army,” Prigozhin said in online networks. “On the battlefield (…) the Russian army is retreating on the Zaporizhia and Kherson fronts.” With drastic words, the 62-year-old raised harsh allegations against the Russian military leadership: “We wash ourselves in blood. Nobody brings reinforcements. What they tell us is a bitter deception.”

Meanwhile, Russia continued its air strikes on Ukrainian targets. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, 13 cruise missiles were intercepted during night attacks by Russia on a military airport in western Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense in Moscow, on the other hand, reported that “all targets were hit” in the attack on a Ukrainian weapons depot. The information could not be independently verified.

conflicting parties as a source

In the current situation, information on the course of the war, shelling and casualties provided by official bodies of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict parties cannot be directly checked by an independent body.

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