After Russian Military Attacks a Wagner Group Encampment, Prigozhin Threatens to go to Moscow and "Punish the Military."
Russian military bloggers predicted that this apparent "Friendly Fire" incident will lead to a coup or civil war against Putin, as Prigozhin calls the Ukraine war a Mistake
June 23, 2023
Leader of the Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin today published a statement accusing the Russian Army of shelling a Wagner's encampment. Prigozhin added that he is moving his units to Moscow to "punish" the military, "restore justice." He urged the Russian defense ministry not trying to stop his units, and threatened to kill anyone who will try.
Friendly fire accidents are common in warfare. The Vietnam war included many such incidents, where one US military unit attacked another in the fog of war. But Russian Military bloggers speculated that this action was deliberate and will lead to a Coup in Moscow.
More spectacularly, Prigozhin said the Russian invasion of Ukraine "was based on deception." He called the invasion a mistake. Prigozhin alleged that the Russian Defense Ministry "is trying to deceive society and the president and tell us how there was crazy aggression from Ukraine and that they were planning to attack us with the whole of NATO."
The Wagner chief referred to the official Kremlin justification for the war as a "beautiful narrative. ... (but) the special operation was started for different reason," Prigozhin said, referring to the Russian government's preferred term for the invasion.
Yevgeny Viktorovich Prigozhin is a Russian oligarch, mercenary chief, and a close confidant of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Prigozhin is sometimes called "Putin's chef", as he owns restaurants and catering companies that provide services for the Kremlin. The full text of his statement follows:
"PMC Wagner Commanders' Council made a decision: the evil brought by the military leadership of the country must be stopped. They neglect the lives of soldiers. They forgot the word "justice", and we will bring it back. Those, who destroyed today our guys, who destroyed tens, tens of thousands of lives of Russian soldiers will be punished. I'm asking: no one resist. Everyone who will try to resist, we will consider them a danger and destroy them immediately, including any checkpoints on our way. And any aviation that we see above our heads. I'm asking everyone to remain calm, do not succumb to provocations, and remain in their houses. Ideally, those along our way, do not go outside. After we finished what we started, we will return to the frontline to protect our motherland. Presidential authority, Government, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Rosgvardia, and other departments will continue operating as before. We will deal with those who destroy Russian soldiers. And we will return to the frontline. Justice in the Army will be restored. And after this, justice for the whole of Russia."