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Prigozhin escalates conflict with Russia’s Ministry of Defense – UK intelligence

Screenshot from video of Prigozhin scolding his troops
Prigozhin escalates conflict with Russia’s Ministry of Defense – UK intelligence

Amid Ukraine’s counteroffensive, Wagner financier Yevgeny Prigozhin is defying the Russian Ministry of Defense’s orders for his mercenaries to sign official state contracts and says he awaits the ministry’s reply to a “contract” of his own making, the UK intelligence says in its daily update:

“On 19 June 2023, Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin said that he was expecting a reply from the Russian MoD regarding a ‘contract’ of his own drafting which he had delivered to the ministry three days before.

This follows the MoD’s own ultimatum to Wagner and other ‘volunteer formations’ to sign contracts with the MoD by 01 July 2023.

Although the content of Prigozhin’s document has not been made public, the act of him delivering it raises the stakes, and is highly likely another deliberate effort to undermine the authority of the official military authorities.

Prigozhin’s tone towards the MoD has become unambiguously confrontational. The MoD almost certainly sees this as deeply unfortunate at a time when it is grappling with Ukraine’s counter-offensive.”

On 15 June, the UK intelligence reported that the call by the Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) for Wagner Group members to sign contracts directly is met with defiance by Wagner’s owner Yevgeny Prigozhin, highlighting a deepening conflict within the Russian establishment. Meanwhile, the deadline for the volunteer fighters to sign contracts with the MoD, 1 July, “is likely to be a key way-point in the feud.”


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