Yevgeny Prigozhin has denied a report that he proposed sharing Russian intelligence with Kyiv in change for ceded territory across the besieged metropolis of Bakhmut – a denial that got here days after the Wagner chief issued a sequence of criticisms revealing deep fissures inside Moscow over the warfare in Ukraine.
The Washington Submit article was primarily based on a trove of extremely categorized US intelligence paperwork leaked on social media in April, which revealed the diploma to which the US has penetrated Wagner and the Russian Ministry of Protection.
The Submit reported Sunday that Prigozhin provided to offer the Ukrainian army info on Russian troop positions if Kyiv would pull again its forces from the world round Bakhmut, which stays a key battleground within the Kremlin’s tried advance by way of japanese Ukraine.
Prigozhin made the supply to Ukraine’s army intelligence directorate, often called HUR, in January, the Submit alleged. It quoted one leaked doc as stating that Prigozhin met HUR officers in an unspecified nation in Africa.
However the head of the Russian paramilitary group speculated the story might have been planted by his enemies, in keeping with an audio message posted to his Telegram channel on Monday.
“I can say with confidence, if we’re being severe, that I’ve not been in Africa at the least for the reason that starting of the battle, however in reality just a few months earlier than the beginning of the SMO (Particular Navy Operation),” Prigozhin mentioned, referring to Moscow’s euphemism for the warfare in Ukraine.
“Due to this fact, I merely couldn’t meet with anybody there bodily.”
In his message, Prigozhin requested rhetorically, “Who’s behind this? I feel that both some journalists determined to hype, or comrades from Rublyovka have now determined to make up a stupendous, planted story.” Rublyovka is the identify of an prosperous neighborhood in Moscow alongside the Rublyovo-Uspenskoye freeway, which is understood for its luxurious residential estates and mansions for the Russian elite.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov advised journalists on Monday that he couldn’t touch upon the Washington Submit report, aside from to say, “It appears like one other hoax.”
Andriy Yusov, a consultant of the Protection Intelligence of Ukraine, declined to remark when he was requested concerning the Submit report on Ukrainian tv on Monday, saying: “Who would profit from discussing such initiatives now?”
CNN reached out to Ukraine’s army intelligence directorate for remark. It mentioned it had nothing so as to add to Yusov’s feedback.
Prigozhin’s audio message on Monday was the most recent outburst from the Wagner head, who has launched a storm of criticism towards the Kremlin in latest weeks, accusing it of negligence amid Moscow’s faltering invasion of Ukraine.
Final week, he accused a Russian brigade of abandoning its place in frontline Bakhmut and permitting Ukraine to take territory, saying the 72nd brigade “simply ran the hell out of there.”
Bakhmut is the positioning of a months-long assault by Russian troops, together with Wagner fighters, that has ravaged the embattled metropolis and compelled hundreds of civilians to flee their properties. However Moscow has to date been unable to achieve floor and as a substitute sustained heavy losses, regardless of swarming the world with big quantities of manpower.
Quickly after Prigozhin’s tirade, the Ukrainian commander of a battalion concerned within the nation’s assault on Russian positions close to Bakhmut advised CNN the primary Russians to desert the world had been Wagner fighters, contradicting Prigozhin’s claims.
Kyiv additionally mentioned it was working “efficient counterattacks” within the Bakhmut space, matching remarks by Prigozhin that Kyiv had recaptured some territory.
On the similar time, Prigozhin criticized the Russian army’s deal with the Victory Day parade final week – marring an event that Russian President Vladimir Putin has beforehand used to point out off Moscow’s unity and army would possibly.