Head of Russia’s Wagner accuses top brass of ‘treason,’ attempting to destroy group

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Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner group, on Tuesday accused the Russian defense minister and the chief of the general staff of depriving his fighters of munitions and trying to destroy Wagner - actions he said were equivalent to treason.

A onetime catering entrepreneur who once shunned the public spotlight, Prigozhin has assumed a more public role since the start of the war in Ukraine a year ago, with his Wagner Group spearheading Russia’s months-long battle for the town of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

“There is simply direct opposition going on,” Prigozhin said in a voice message posted on his Telegram channel. “This can be equated to high treason.”

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It is the second such message published by Prigozhin in two days. On Monday, he complained that unnamed officials were denying Wagner supplies out of personal animosity to him.

Apparently angry, and speaking at times with a raised voice, Prigozhin blamed Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Valery Gerasimov, the country’s most senior soldier, of deliberately causing the arms shortages, which he said were causing heightened losses among Wagner troops fighting around Bakhmut.

“The chief of the general staff and the defense minister are giving orders right and left not just not to give Wagner PMC ammunition, but not to help it with air transport,” Prigozhin said.

Prigozhin has for months criticized senior commanders for what he has called their incompetence. Prigozhin has said that the defense ministry is trying to take credit for Wagner successes around the Donetsk region town of Bakhmut.

The defense ministry could not be immediately contacted for comment.

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