Russia moves to control Wagner Group amid defence ministry infighting

A recent assertion by Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister, Nikolai Pankov, has sparked tensions between the country’s defence officials and the Wagner Group, a non-public navy organisation. Pankov introduced that “volunteer formations” would be required to sign contracts directly with the Ministry of Defence, a move believed to target the Wagner Group. In response, the group’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, declared that his forces would boycott the contracts.
The Wagner Group has played a big position within the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, supporting Russian forces. However, Prigozhin has been involved in a public dispute with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and army chief Valery Gerasimov for months, accusing them of incompetence and deliberately undersupplying Wagner units in Ukraine.
In response to the defence ministry’s announcement, Prigozhin said, “Wagner won’t signal any contracts with Shoigu. Shoigu can’t properly handle military formation.” He maintained that his group was nicely built-in with the Russian navy but argued that its effectiveness can be hindered by having to report again to the defence minister.
While Pankov’s announcement did not explicitly mention Wagner or other paramilitary teams, Russian media has suggested that the brand new contracts are an try to bring Prigozhin and his forces underneath control. The defence ministry, however, claims that the move is supposed to “increase the effectiveness” of Russian units in Ukraine.
Tensions between the Wagner Group and the Russian army have escalated in recent weeks. Last week, the group kidnapped a senior frontline military commander, Lt Col Roman Venevitin, accusing him of opening fire on a Wagner automobile near Bakhmut. Venevitin was later released, and in a video shared by Russian army bloggers, he accused the group of making “anarchy” on Russia’s frontlines by stealing arms and trying to extort weapons from the defence ministry. Formula dismissed the comments as “absolutely whole nonsense.”

Leave a Comment