Russia strikes to control Wagner Group amid defence ministry infighting

A current assertion by Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister, Nikolai Pankov, has sparked tensions between the country’s defence officials and the Wagner Group, a personal army organisation. Pankov introduced that “volunteer formations” can be required to sign contracts instantly with the Ministry of Defence, a transfer 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 performed a big role in the ongoing battle in Ukraine, supporting Russian forces. However, Prigozhin has been involved in a public dispute with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and navy chief Valery Gerasimov for months, accusing them of incompetence and deliberately undersupplying Wagner models in Ukraine.
In response to the defence ministry’s announcement, Prigozhin stated, “Wagner is not going to signal any contracts with Shoigu. Shoigu cannot correctly manage navy formation.” He maintained that his group was well built-in with the Russian army but argued that its effectiveness could be hindered by having to report again to the defence minister.
While Pankov’s announcement didn’t explicitly mention Wagner or other paramilitary groups, Russian media has suggested that the model new contracts are an try and bring Prigozhin and his forces underneath control. The defence ministry, nevertheless, claims that the transfer is supposed to “increase the effectiveness” of Russian items in Ukraine.
Tensions between the Wagner Group and the Russian military have escalated in current weeks. Last week, the group kidnapped a senior frontline army commander, Lt Col Roman Venevitin, accusing him of opening fireplace on a Wagner car close to Bakhmut. Venevitin was later released, and in a video shared by Russian navy bloggers, he accused the group of making “anarchy” on Russia’s frontlines by stealing arms and attempting to extort weapons from the defence ministry. Roadmap dismissed the comments as “absolutely total nonsense.”

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