Russia’s Wagner group is now reportedly focusing on Africa after suffering heavy losses in Ukraine amid the mercenary group’s chief’s fights with Vladimir Putin.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the group, has been in a long dispute with the Kremlin, in particular with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. He has accused Shoigu of blocking the supply of ammunition and personnel to his private military group.
Prigozhin and his group of mercenaries are currently fighting in Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. Fighting in the area has raged for eight months, producing some of the bloodiest and longest-running battles of the war.
The brutal conflict has seen Prigozhin lose thousands of front men, killed or wounded. Many of the convicts who signed up to join the ranks of the Wagner group were also pardoned after serving six months in the military. The Kremlin has reportedly prohibited Prigozhin from renewing the troops with more conscripted prisoners.
Wagner’s change of tack follows reported fears within the Kremlin that after the Ukraine war, Prigozhin might try to rally his mercenaries to turn on Putin and seize power in Russia’s outlying regions.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner of the military company Wagner Group, addresses Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asking him to withdraw the remaining Ukrainian forces from Bakhmut, on March 3.
Russia’s Wagner group is reportedly now focusing on Africa after suffering heavy losses in Ukraine amid the mercenary group’s boss’s fights with Vladimir Putin (pictured)
Prigozhin and his group of mercenaries are currently fighting in Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. Pictured: A Russian tank explodes after being hit by a bomb dropped from a drone in Ukraine
News of the Wagner group’s shift in focus, reported by Bloomberg citing sources close to the matter, is likely to worry Moscow after Kiev said they were now ready to launch a new counterattack against war-torn Bakhmut.
Ukraine’s ground forces commander Oleksandr Syrskyi said: “The attacker has not given up hope of taking Bakhmut at all costs, despite the losses of men and equipment, very soon we will seize this opportunity, as we did near Kiev”. Kharkiv, Balakliya and Kupiansk.’
Prigozhin has been publicly critical of Russia’s military and military leadership. He previously criticized and discredited top army officers and anyone else who got in his way, angering many in the Russian government who want to be controlled.
But while they have scored successes in cities like Soledar, Popasna and Lysychansk, the group has been rapidly losing troops. As many in his criminal ranks are released, it is unknown how much power Prigozhin’s men will continue to wield in the war.
Amid the fighting in Bakhmut, Prigozhin has continued to demand that the Kremlin supply him with ammunition, reinforcements and more support. After losing more fighters, Prigozhin’s anger and tensions with Moscow are expected to increase.
Defense Minister Shoigu is understood to be in particular disagreement with Prigozhin over strategy despite the fact that Wagner’s chief brought success on the battlefield and led the assault on Bakhmut.
Ammunition deliveries reportedly stopped earlier this month before they could reach Prigozhin and his Wagner group in Bakhmut, quashing any military advance.
Amid the fighting in Bakhmut, Prigozhin has continued to demand that the Kremlin supply him with ammunition. Pictured: Destructions in the city of Bakhmut shown on February 27, 2023
Prigozhin has been publicly critical of Russia’s military and military leadership. He has previously criticized and discredited senior army officers.
Defense Minister Shoigu (left, pictured with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov) is understood to be in particular disagreement with Prigozhin over the strategy.
Earlier this month, Prigozhin said his forces will have to “restart and downsize” after significant losses in the war-torn city.
But now Wagner is openly recruiting to fulfill his contracts in Africa. The group has been recruited to protect mines and provide security for government services. The group is looking for candidates for terms of nine to 14 months in Africa.
On his Telegram channel, Prigozhin denied Bloomberg reports that Wagner was seeking to withdraw from Ukraine.
‘It seems that Bloomberg knows better than we do what we are going to do.
“As long as our country needs us, we will continue to fight in Ukraine.”