Vladimir Putin’s close ally betrays the Kremlin as feud with Russian President heats up

Vladimir Putin's close ally is lashing out again against Russia's war effort despite allegedly being told to keep quiet by the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin’s close ally betrays Russian President as feud heats up
© Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images
Vladimir Putin’s close ally betrays Russian President as feud heats up

The feud between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his close ally and potential successor, Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, is heating up.

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Prigozhin criticises Russia's war effort

In an audio clip posted by the Concord company, owned by Prigozhin, to Telegram on 21 February, he accused Putin’s top officials of 'treason' and trying to 'destroy' the Wagner Group. This is despite the Kremlin allegedly demanding that Prigozhin stop publicly criticising the defence ministry.

He targeted Russia's defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the Chief of the Russian General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, in particular, saying:

There is quite simply direct obstruction going on. This can be equated with high treason.

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He condemned the lack of ammunition supplied to Wagner fighters, according to a translation shared by Twitter user Dmitri from the War Translated, an independent project that translates various materials about the war in Ukraine. Prigozhin said:

I have no options. I'm going to the end, I have people dying in droves because some strange people made a decision whether they'll live or not. This should not be happening.

Then, on 22 February, in another audio clip posted by the Concord company, he claimed the Russian government was lying about supplying the Wagner Group with the ammunition it requires.

Dmitri from the War Translated also shared this clip. In it, Prigozhin said:

I'd like to emphasize again, if we moved to a public correspondence with the Ministry of Defense, that Wagner PMC is not receiving 80 percent of ammo required to complete combat objectives.
Therefore, the announcement by the Ministry of Defense is nothing more than spit towards the Wagner PMC, and an attempt to hide their crimes against the fighters who are today completing a feat in Bakhmut.

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Prigozhin publicly betrays the Kremlin

His most recent slight was posting gruesome photos of the country’s war dead, which is being seen as a public betrayal of the Kremlin. He said on 22 February in comments to a pro-war Telegram channel:

Who is to blame for them dying? Those who should have resolved the issue of supplying us with sufficient quantities of ammunition are to blame.

He shared a photo of rows of bloodied and maimed corpses that he said were Wagner fighters who died fighting for the Kremlin in Ukraine. He said:

No steps have been taken to issue ammunition. I am posting a photo below, this is one of the gathering points for the dead. These are guys who died yesterday due to ammunition hunger. There should have been five times less of them.

Again, he laid the blame on Shoigu and Gerasimov:

Wagner, like a beggar crowd funding, is asking unit commanders to help in some way. We will not leave Bakhmut. We’ll just die twice as much as we already have, until everyone’s gone. And when the Wagernites run out, then most likely Shoigu and Gerasimov will have to take up machine guns.

Sources used:

Newsweek: 'Prigozhin Accuses Putin of Trying to 'Destroy' Wagner Group'

Newsweek: 'War of Words Between Russian Military and Wagner Boss Heats Up'

DailyBeast: '‘Putin’s Chef’ Leaks Grisly Corpse Photo in Public Betrayal of Kremlin'

Vladimir Putin: These two close allies of the Russian President dare to speak out Vladimir Putin: These two close allies of the Russian President dare to speak out