‘Putin leader’ humiliated by own side after bragging about Wagner victory

Concord News Service/Handout via Reuters

Concord News Service/Handout via Reuters

The Kremlin finally appears to be trying to take Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin down a notch after the businessman spent months using his gang of mercenaries and ex-convicts to upstage the war of Russia against Ukraine.

A simmering feud between Prigozhin’s team and Russia’s regular army came to light on Wednesday, as Russia’s Defense Ministry publicly dismissed the ‘leader of Putin” claims of a Wagner victory in the Ukrainian region of Donetsk.

In an announcement late Tuesday, Prigozhin gleefully claimed his men had taken control of a salt mining town that Russian forces hope to use as a springboard to seize control of the coveted town of Bakhmut, a Ukrainian stronghold for months. .

“Wagner’s units have taken control of the entire territory of Soledar,” Prigozhin said via his press service. “I want to emphasize that no unit other than the Wagner fighters took part in the assault on Soledar,” he said.

While Ukrainian authorities denied Prigozhin’s claim and said battles were still going on in the city – and the selfie Wagner’s boss allegedly posted of Soledar was not even in Soledar – the two Russian armies in a duel turned into their own war within a war.

Russia’s Defense Ministry dismissed Prigozhin’s boast that his own men alone had brought Putin victory, instead confirming Ukraine’s announcement that fighting was still ongoing in the city.

Additionally, defense officials suggested that Russian airborne units and assault teams were leading the charge. The MoD made no mention of Wagner.

The rebuff comes as praise for Prigozhin’s outfit has reached fever pitch among pro-Kremlin figures, and the notorious mercenary group has threatened to eclipse Putin’s regular soldiers on the battlefield.

Wagner Boss thinks the military brass are here to get it

“Why is Wagner so successful, more successful than even the Russian army?” Pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergei Markov wrote on Telegram on Wednesday morning.

He went on to praise Prigozhin personally, calling him “very creative”, a “workaholic” and someone who “finds innovative and brilliant solutions”.

“Prigozhin’s criminal past is a plus now, because world politics is criminalized,” he said, calling Prigozhin and Wagner a “national treasure.”

Speculation that Prigozhin might be in the running for an official post in the Russian government has swirled in recent months as his public relations campaign for Wagner has gathered pace, with many wondering if he has given himself up for personal mission to “win this fucking war” for Putin so he can demand something in return.

Although Prigozhin is clashing with senior defense officials and government officials, the Kremlin has largely allowed him to do as he pleases, but they appear to have fired their first warning shot this week as a sign of things to come. to come.

Putin’s appointment on Tuesday of a controversial colonel-general as the new head of ground forces was done “like a snub to Prigozhin”, a source close to the Russian general staff told iStories media.

Prigozhin and fellow extremist Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov had publicly blamed Colonel-General Alexander Lapin for the battlefield setbacks.

Lapin’s return, the source said, “is a response [to Prigozhin] in the sense of “Neither do we leave ours behind”.

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