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Written by SOT.COM.AL 28 Maj 2023
The head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said on May 28 that he is convinced that senior Kremlin officials have banned Russian state media from reporting on him. He warned that such a deceptive approach will lead to a reaction from the Russian people within months.
Prigozhin, who is a founder of Wagner, is the best-known member of Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle, who rose to fame during the 15-month war in Ukraine.
Prigozin's forces have been at the forefront of the battle to take control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bahmut. Russia has claimed that it has taken this city, which has been denied by Ukraine. However, Prigozhin's role in this alleged Russian victory at Bahmut has been downplayed by the Russian state media.
One indication according to Prigozhin is that the state media ignored the claim of Bahmut's capture for 20 hours and did not broadcast his speech at all.
Asked why Russian state media had banned coverage of him, Prigozhin used several Russian proverbs to tease those he said were responsible: "What's banned is always sweeter," he said.
"Wagner cannot be used by bureaucrats. Wagner cannot hide. I'm pretty sure they've stopped media coverage for us. High-level bureaucrats in the Kremlin are trying to silence everyone so that no one talks about Wagner," he added.
According to him, such an approach will receive a response from the Russian people.
"In the long term, after two or three months, they will receive a slap from the people for trying to shut people's mouths and ears," said Prigozhin.
Wagner's boss has been quite critical of Russian commanders, but also of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The Kremlin and Russia's Defense Ministry have ignored Prigozhin's statements regarding criticism of the invasion of Ukraine, which Russia launched in February 2022. Prigozhin also said
in an audio message that 72,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the fighting in Bakhmut and about 100-140,000 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded.
These claims could not be independently verified.
Despite the fact that Russia and Wagner have claimed to have control of Bahmut, Kiev has insisted that its forces still control a small part of this city located in the Donetsk region./REL