The Wagner Group mercenary chief and ally of Vladimir Putin has broken the strict Kremlin protocols and seem to side with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky saying he is a “strong and confident leader.”
The Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin dubbed “Putin’s chef” has been vocal in recent weeks over the failing situation on the ground in Ukraine and has blamed the Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and has publicly called for his removal.
The Wagner mercenary group chief is questioning Putin’s grasp over the war in Ukraine and is “trying to oust Defence Minister Shoigu” in an internal coup.
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Prigozhin wrote last month, “I want to emphasize that there was not a single person from any other group except for the employees of the Wagner Group involved in this campaign.”
Former CIA director John Brennan said, “There is some jockeying among the senior leaders of Russia to try and take command and control because they have done so poorly.
“Putin’s options are narrowing, and Russia’s forces are doing so poorly.
“Putin is seeing this conflict as existential to his political survival. He will not survive this if he cannot claim victory in Ukraine.”
In a statement on the Vkontatke social media platform issued through his catering firm, Concord Prigozhin said, “Although he is the president of a country that’s hostile to Russia right now, Zelensky is a strong, confident, pragmatic and nice guy.”
The Wagner Group mercenary chief was asked why he speaks so well of Presidnet Zelensky, he replied, “Don’t underestimate him.”
Another ally of Putin is the Chechan leader Ramzan Kadyrov who has also been recently slamming the Russian Army and Putin’s failures in Ukraine.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on Tuesday that Putin’s ally, Prigozhin is “establishing himself as a political force, using his popular status and his affiliation with Wagner to criticise his opponents within elite circles.”