Prigozhin Denies Report He Offered to Betray Russian Positions

The head of Russia’s Wagner private army has denied a report that he offered to betray Russian positions to Ukraine in exchange for the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the city of Bakhmut.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the group’s leader and a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the report was “nonsense” and that he had never met with Ukrainian military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov.

The report, which was published by the Washington Post on Sunday, cited unnamed US intelligence officials as saying that Prigozhin had offered to provide the location of Russian forces in Bakhmut in exchange for a prisoner swap. According to the Post, Prigozhin “carried on a secret relationship with Ukrainian intelligence that, in addition to phone calls, includes in-person meetings with HUR officers in an unspecified country in Africa.”

Prigozhin denied the report, saying that he had never been to Africa since the start of the war in Ukraine and that he had never spoken to Budanov on the phone.

“This is nonsense,” Prigozhin said in an audio message posted on Telegram. “I have never been to Africa since the start of the special operation, and I have never spoken to Budanov on the phone.”

Prigozhin’s denial was echoed by the Kremlin, which called the report a hoax. “This looks like the latest hoax,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

The report comes at a time when Ukrainian forces are making significant gains in the Donbas region, where Bakhmut is located. In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces have pushed Russian forces back from several key positions in the Donbas.

The gains by Ukrainian forces have raised questions about the future of Wagner Group, which has been a key part of Russia’s offensive in the Donbas. The group has been accused of human rights abuses and war crimes in several countries, including Libya, Syria, and the Central African Republic.

The report that Prigozhin offered to betray Russian positions to Ukraine is the latest in a series of setbacks for the group. In April, the United States imposed sanctions on Prigozhin and Wagner Group, accusing them of destabilizing the security of countries in Africa and elsewhere. The sanctions have made it more difficult for Wagner Group to operate, leading to the group losing contracts in several countries.

Prigozhin suggested that these recent allegations were part of an attack from Russia’s business and political elite, signaling growing tensions between Wagner Group and the country’s upper echelons. The Wagner leader has also drawn criticism from senior military officials as Bakhmut, Wagner’s main target in Ukraine, remains elusive after months of attempts and heavy casualties.

Information for this story was found via Reuters, the Washington Post, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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