Russian Ex-Commander Sounds Warning On Wagner Group

A former Russian military officer suggested last weekend that the private mercenaries from the Wagner Group would not hesitate to kill Russians if leader Yevgeny Prigozhin ordered them to do it, Newsweek reported.

In a post on Telegram last Sunday, Girkin said Prigozhin’s failed rebellion last month “perfectly demonstrated” the group’s “readiness” to kill fellow Russians.

The Wagner chief and 25,000 of his mercenaries marched to Rostov in southern Russia on June 23, seizing the Russian army headquarters with a plan to make their way to Moscow to call for the ouster of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

But less than 24 hours later, the rebellion fizzled out.

Girkin wrote that the Wagner Group’s “march for justice” is proof that the mercenaries are “traitors to Russia” just like Prigozhin. He said the Wagner chief’s “private army” does not have a “moral right” to be defenders of “the Fatherland.” He accused the mercenaries of defending “their right to kill anyone, anywhere” for the money Prigozhin pays them.

Girkin also expressed frustration that Prigozhin and his mercenaries did not “suffer the slightest punishment” for their failed rebellion.

As part of the deal made brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, the criminal investigation into Prighozin’s rebellion was closed and the Wanger chief was exiled to Belarus, Reuters reported.

On June 27, President Lukashenko confirmed that Prigozhin had arrived in Belarus and said the Wagner chief and some of his fighters would be permitted to remain there “for some time,” but at their “own expense.”

However, the Associated Press reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin may still find a way to hurt the Wagner chief financially. Putin told military officials in late June that the Kremlin would be looking closely at the contract the Russian military made with Progozhin’s Concord Group. 

On the same day the rebellion failed, police in St. Petersburg searched Prigozhin’s office where they found 4 billion rubles in trucks parked outside.