Putin's 'chef' who runs feared Wagner mercenaries rails against West

Putin’s ‘chef’ who runs feared Wagner mercenaries calls the West ‘pathetic endangered perverts’ who consider Russians to be ‘third world scum’ and warns ‘victory will be ours’ in extraordinary rant

  • Yevgeny Prigozhin is a Russian businessman and a close ally of Vladimir Putin 
  • He is referred to as ‘Putin’s chef’ due to his catering contracts with the Kremlin 
  • Prigozhin, 60, is widely believed to be the lead financer of the Wagner Group
  • The mercenary group has deployed around the world, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, and is seen to serve as Putin’s private army 

One of Putin’s closest allies and suspected financer of the private military company Wagner Group has declared the West ‘pathetic endangered perverts’ and promised a Russian victory in Ukraine in his latest explosive interview.

Yevgeny Prigozhin – often referred to as ‘Putin’s chef’ because of his past catering contracts with the Kremlin – launched a venomous rant at The Guardian this week in which he hit out at the perceived Western attitude towards Russians.

‘You are a dying-out western civilisation that considers Russians, Malians, Central Africans, Cubans, Nicaraguans and many other peoples and countries to be third world scum,’ the businessman announced. 

‘You are a pathetic endangered bunch of perverts, and there are many of us, billions of us. And victory will be ours!’ 

Prigozhin’s fury came after The Guardian contacted him for a response to the discovery of evidence which appears to connect the Wagner Group to the massacre of around 300 civilians in Mali.

The shadowy group of mercenaries has been linked to a string of conflicts and brutal killings around the world and is widely thought to operate as Putin’s private army, carrying out his dirty work at arms’ length with no official ties to Moscow.

Wagner fighters are known to have deployed in Mali, assisting the junta that toppled the country’s government in a 2020 military coup – and the 60-year-old Prigozhin is believed to be the group’s main financial backer.

Yevgeny Prigozhin – often referred to as ‘Putin’s chef’ because of his past catering contracts with the Kremlin – launched a venomous rant at The Guardian this week in which he hit out at the perceived Western attitude towards Russians

Prigozhin is one of Putin’s closest allies and suspected financer of the private military company Wagner Group (mercenary pictured wearing Wagner insignia in Donetsk)

Businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, left, serves food to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, center, during dinner at Prigozhin’s restaurant outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. Russia has engaged in under-the-radar military operations in at least half a dozen countries in Africa in the last five years using a shadowy mercenary force, Wagner, analysts say is loyal to President Vladimir Putin. The United States identifies Prigozhin as Wagner’s financer

When human rights abuses were reported in recent weeks in Mali – fake graves designed to discredit French forces and a massacre of some 300 people, most of whom were civilians – the Wagner Group and their Malian military allies were thought to be the ones responsible.

Even before the shady mercenaries joined the assault on Ukraine, Russia had deployed them to under-the-radar military operations across at least half a dozen African countries in an attempt to further the Kremlin’s global ambitions. 

The Wagner Group passes itself off as a private military contractor and the Kremlin denies any connection to it or even, sometimes, that it exists.

But Wagner’s commitment to Russian interests has become apparent in Ukraine, where its fighters, seen wearing the group’s chilling white skull emblem, are among the Russian forces currently attacking the Donbas region.

In sub-Saharan Africa, Wagner has gained substantial footholds for Russia in Central African Republic, Sudan and Mali. Wagner’s role in those countries goes way beyond the cover story of merely providing a security service, experts say.

‘They essentially run the Central African Republic,’ and are a growing force in Mali, Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of U.S. armed forces in Africa, told a Senate hearing last month.

Prigozhin denied any involvement in the private military company in his interview with The Guardian, insisting ‘the Wagner Group does not exist’ and pinning the events taking place in Mali on ‘terrorist organisations planted by the collective West, namely the USA, Britain, France.’  

But fighters wearing Wagner Group insignia have been photographed in eastern Ukraine since the invasion began and there are widespread reports of the mercenaries directing Malian military officials and soldiers in their brutality against the civilian population.

Prigozhin is pictured right alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin

This undated photograph handed out by French military shows three Russian mercenaries, right, in northern Mali. The Wagner Group is widely believed to be influencing politics, undermining democracy and conducting warfare on behalf of the Kremlin in Africa

 A Wagner mercenary is pictured in Russian seperatist-controlled Donetsk in the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Wagner mercenaries were filmed in action in Ukraine for the first time today. 

Drone footage from the town of Popansa, in Ukraine’s east, shows a squad of Russians involved in intense street fighting with Ukrainian defenders – storming a house and throwing grenades before forcing them to surrender.

The footage emerged as UK intelligence said today that Russian forces are ‘struggling to break through defences and build momentum’ in the fight for Donbas, the outcome of which is seen as pivotal to the overall war.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence said that, despite these setbacks, Russian commanders appear set on attempting to capture the cities of Severodonetsk and Kramatorsk – to the north and west of Popansa, respectively – using forces massed in the area.

Footage of the Wagner mercenaries first appeared on the Telegram channel of ‘Colonel Cassad’ – a pro-Russian blogger named Boris Rozhin who is based in Crimea who posts updates from Ukraine to an audience hundreds of thousands strong.

Russian soldiers – believed to be from the feared Wagner Group – have been filmed fighting in Ukraine for the first time (pictured top left, storming a trench)

A Wagner solider (pictured standing against the house wall) prepares to throw a grenade into another building containing Ukrainian troops

It was re-posted by Rob Lee, a respected analyst from the War Studies department of King’s College, who repeated Rozhin’s claim that the troops are from Wagner.

Russia has turned its attention on capturing Ukraine’s eastern regions after its initial attempts to capture Kyiv and other key cities in the north failed with Moscow’s forces suffering heavy casualties. 

Fighting is now ongoing along a stretch of frontline hundreds of miles long, stretching from Kharkiv in the north to Mariupol in the south, and along the Azov and Black Sea coasts to Kherson and Mykolaiv.

Some of the most-intense battles are currently taking place in Popansa and Lyman, around 35 miles to the north, as the Russians attempt to surround the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, which span the Donets river.

Doing so would cut off the Ukrainian defenders from reinforcements and make the cities  easier to capture. If they fall, they could then be used as a staging post to push further west – to Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.

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