Wagner’s Prigozhin Disputes Report That He Offered to Betray Russia

The head of the Wagner personal navy group on Monday rejected a report that he had supplied to share with Ukraine the positioning of Russian Army troops round Bakhmut in change for a withdrawal of Kyiv’s forces from the realm in jap Ukraine.

The Wagner group has been a driving power behind Russia’s monthslong battle to take Bakhmut, which has price hundreds of lives on either side and diminished a lot of town to rubble. Its founder, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, has publicly clashed with Russia’s navy management over the struggle for town, accusing them of ravenous his forces of ammunition.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday {that a} U.S. intelligence doc leaked on the messaging platform Discord mentioned that Mr. Prigozhin informed contacts in Ukraine’s navy intelligence directorate that he was prepared to betray the Russian military’s areas round Bakhmut if Kyiv agreed to withdraw from round Bakhmut. A Ukrainian official informed The Post that Mr. Prigozhin’s supply — made “more than once” — had been rejected.

In an audio statement printed on Monday by his press service, Mr. Prigozhin referred to as the report “speculation” and a “hoax.” He urged that Russia’s corrupt elites, who he mentioned envied his fighters’ achievements on the entrance traces in Ukraine and had been keen to tank his repute, may very well be accountable.

Mr. Prigozhin’s mercenaries have taken lead in attempting to seize Bakhmut, the location of the longest and one of many bloodiest battles of the battle, whereas Russian troops have managed the realm across the metropolis’s flanks. Over the previous couple of weeks, Mr. Prigozhin has stepped up his accusations of incompetence in opposition to the Russian navy management.

Despite overtly feuding with prime Russian officers, Mr. Prigozhin has been cautious not to criticize President Vladimir V. Putin.

Dmitri S. Peskov, the spokesman for Mr. Putin, mentioned that he wouldn’t touch upon The Post’s report, however mentioned that “it looks like another hoax.”

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