The leader of Russia’s largest private military contractor Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has launched an expletive-filled attack on Russian military leaders and, perhaps even President Vladimir Putin himself, U.S. news portal The Daily Beast reports.
“A happy grandfather thinks he’s good. If he turns out to be right, God bless you all. But I ask you, what will the country, our children, our grandchildren who are the future of Russia do if we win this war? If we win it at all — I’m just speculating — and it turns out that this grandfather is a complete idiot?” Prigozhin said in a cryptic but profanity-laden video message.
Once again, the Wagner leader accused military officials of treason, declaring them Russia’s main enemy — and not the Ukrainians, with whom he is actually fighting.
The suggestion his message was addressed to Putin is also likely because the video was released just as the Russian president was calling for pride among Russians fighting in Ukraine during Russia’s Victory Day. But meanwhile, Prigozhin reported the mass exodus of Russian troops and claimed that the Russian state could not defend its own country against Ukrainian forces.
“They are scheming instead of fighting,” he said of the Russian leadership.
Prigozhin has been repeatedly complaining that his mercenary troops fighting at the front, particularly in Bakhmut, were not receiving sufficient ammunition supplies and had already lost hundreds of soldiers as a result. The Russian defense ministry indicated to him recently that it is working on improving supplies.
Analysts have said that Prigozhin’s erratic outbursts in recent days — first announcing, then retracting, then re-announcing that his troops were withdrawing from Bakhmut because of ammunition problems — could be an attempt to apportion blame for the lack of success on the battlefield.
Wagner has vowed to hold out at Bakhmut for a few more days, although his troops have yet to receive further ammunition supplies.
“Ukraine is on the verge of a counteroffensive, but it will take place on the ground and not on television”, Prigozhin continued, referring to the televised Victory Day celebrations, and added that now is not the time for Russian leaders to show off in Red Square.