Wagner’s mercenary boss brushes off the Russian order to sign

Adeyemi Adeyemi

Global Courant

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu issued the directive that all “voluntary detachments” must sign military contracts by the end of the month.

Wagner Group soldiers will not sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry after it ordered all independent forces to do so at the end of June.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu issued the directive on Saturday, saying all “volunteer detachments” must sign contracts with his ministry by the end of the month — a move designed to increase the effectiveness of the Russian military’s fighting in Ukraine.

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While the ministry did not name Wagner in its public statement, Russian media reported that it was an attempt by Shoigu to push the mercenaries to their limits after a series of public outbursts from his controversial leader.

“Wagner will not sign any contracts with Shoigu,” Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner Group, said on Sunday.

The order, he said, did not apply to Wagner.

Prigozhin has repeatedly attacked President Vladimir Putin’s military leadership for what he considers “treason” for failing to properly conduct the war in Ukraine.

‘General Armageddon’

Neither Shoigu nor Russia’s Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov have publicly commented on the insults of Prigozhin, whose troops took the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in May after a battle that killed tens of thousands during 10 months of grueling warfare.

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Prigozhin and his Wagner mercenaries gained notoriety for what the United States calls destabilizing countries across Africa as they plunder natural resources.

He said the US has destabilized so many countries around the world that Washington has no moral authority to lecture anyone.

Prigozhin said Wagner was completely subservient to Russia’s interests, but his highly efficient chain of command would be damaged by reporting to Shoigu.

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“Shoigu cannot manage military formations well,” Prigozhin said, adding that Wagner coordinated his actions in Ukraine with General Sergei Surovikin, dubbed “General Armageddon” by Russian media.

‘They will come running’

The Defense Department said that in the interest of greater effectiveness, all “volunteer detachments” should sign a contract with the Defense Department before July 1.

“This will give the volunteer formations the necessary legal status, (and) create unified approaches to the organization of comprehensive provision and fulfillment of their duties,” the ministry said.

“These measures will increase the combat capabilities and effectiveness of the armed forces and their volunteer detachments,” said Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov.

Prigozhin said the ministry could use non-compliance with the order as a reason to deprive Wagner of supplies – an accusation he has repeatedly made.

“What could happen after this order is that they will not give us weapons and ammunition. We’ll work it out, as they say,’ Prigozhin said. “But when the thunder breaks, they come running and bring weapons and ammunition with a request for help.”


Wagner’s mercenary boss brushes off the Russian order to sign

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