Fighters of the Wagner paramilitary group will not sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry, Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin said, countering an effort by the ministry in Moscow to integrate the mercenaries in the ordinary army.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Saturday ordered all “volunteer detachments” at the front in the Ukraine war to sign contracts with the Defense Ministry by July 1, in order to increase the effectiveness of the army.
He did not specifically mention Wagner, but the soldiers are frequently referred to as “volunteer assault detachments.”
In reaction to that, Prigozhin posted a statement on Telegram on Sunday saying that “Wagner will not sign any contracts with Shoigu.”
Prigozhin cited as the reason for his refusal that the Russian military cannot hold up to the efficiency of his group, because of “Shoigu’s inability to properly manage the military formations.” But the Wagner boss added that in general his group was “completely subordinate” to the interests of Russia and the commander in chief.
He also said that if the order was followed, the Russian army might not provide the group with arms and ammunition.
Prigozhin has repeatedly attacked Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top military brass for what he casts as treachery for failing to fight the war in Ukraine properly and he repeatedly accused the Kremlin’s high command of withholding ammunition from Wagner forces fighting in Bakhmut, which has seen some of the fiercest combat of the war.
Source : POLITICO