Russia’s Wagner Chief Faces Criminal Probe for ‘Armed Mutiny’ After Call for Attack on Military
The head of the Wagner mercenary group has recently faced a criminal investigation for “armed rebellion” after issuing a provocative call to overthrow the Russian military leadership. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the Wagner Group military company, made audacious statements challenging President Vladimir Putin’s authority, stating, “We will destroy everything that stands in our way.” This development has created significant tensions within Russia, with security measures being heightened and critical facilities placed under reinforced protection.
Accusations and Investigation
Yevgeny Prigozhin accused the Russian military of launching deadly missile strikes against his forces, resulting in the deaths of numerous fighters. In response, he vowed to take decisive action and urged Russians to join his cause, claiming that there are 25,000 members in his forces. However, the Russian defense ministry denied these allegations, labeling them as a “provocation” and asserting that they were not based on reality.
Meanwhile, the country’s prosecutor general, Igor Krasnov, informed President Putin about the initiation of a criminal case regarding the attempted organization of an armed rebellion. The tension between the Wagner group and the defense ministry remains a matter of concern, with regular updates being provided to President Putin.
Unrest and Feud
The situation escalated as Prigozhin openly criticized Moscow’s military leadership, particularly Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. He blamed them for the deaths of his fighters and engaged in a bitter feud with them. The Russian defense ministry dismissed his accusations and cautioned Prigozhin against attempting to remove the leadership, emphasizing the need to maintain unity and follow the orders of the popularly elected President of the Russian Federation.
Implications and International Response
The ongoing conflict between Prigozhin and the Russian military has attracted international attention. Ukraine, which has been closely monitoring the situation, noted the infighting within Moscow and expressed concern over the power struggle and its potential consequences. The United States, too, has been briefed on the situation and plans to consult with allies and partners regarding these developments.
Rise and Controversy of Yevgeny Prigozhin
Yevgeny Prigozhin, previously a controversial figure operating in the shadows, has gained significant prominence in Russian politics. He openly admitted to leading the elusive mercenary group known as Wagner and even acknowledged interference in U.S. elections. His forces, comprising prison recruits, played a crucial role in Russia’s capture of the town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. However, Prigozhin has now turned against Moscow’s top brass, accusing them of deceiving the Russian population about the offensive in Ukraine and pursuing self-promotion.
Prigozhin’s rise to prominence has been remarkable, considering his modest background. He was part of President Putin’s inner circle and had spent time in prison for fraud and theft during the final years of the USSR. Over time, he transitioned into the restaurant business, even catering to Putin himself. However, his recent power struggle with the defense ministry has caused significant tension and revealed deep divisions within the Russian political landscape.
The ongoing conflict between Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Russian military leadership has intensified, leading to a criminal investigation into his actions. His provocative statements and accusations have raised concerns about internal stability within Russia. The outcome of this power struggle remains uncertain, but it has undoubtedly exposed divisions and challenges faced by the country’s military and political apparatus