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Wagner Group co-founder Dmitry Utkin joins Prigozhin's conflict with Chechnya leadership, recalls involvement in Chechen wars

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Dmitry Utkin, co-founder of the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC), has joined Yevgeny Prigozhin’s conflict with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and his associates, publishing a statement in support of Prigozhin on Telegram. Utkin’s military call sign – Wagner – reportedly gave the PMC its name.

The head of Chechnya's parliament, Magomed Daudov, recently demanded a man-to-man meeting with Prigozhin, urging him “not to forget” where he got his “planes and helicopters.” Adam Delimkhanov, a personal friend of Ramzan Kadyrov and a member of the Russian State Duma, made a similar statement.

“Don't forget, Zhenya [short form of Yevgeny], thanks to whom you have a private military company, planes, helicopters, MLRS systems, and so on – you also claim that you have the first army, and the [Ukrainians] have the second. If you go on at this rate, then nothing good will come [of it]. Give us a location, and at any time, in any place, we’ll meet you and discuss this man-to-man,” Daudov said in a video published on Telegram.

Utkin publicly interjected in a post on Wagner-affiliated Telegram channel Grey Zone, attaching a photo of himself to the message. The spelling and punctuation of the message is preserved.

“I’ll begin. I address the chairman of the Chechen Parliament, Mr. Magomed Daudov:

  • we are already in the Third World War. And in connection with the current events, I completely agree that certain citizens should be shot for the DISGRACE we’re facing;


  • any problems that arise, we solve by the means available to us, without contradicting the Laws of the Russian Federation and the Constitution;

  • where did such familiarity come from, who gave you the right to call [Yevgeny Prigozhin] “you” [the Russian word ты, or ‘ty’, is used to address someone informally – The Insider] and “Zhenya”? [the short form of the name Yevgeny, used by Daudov in his message – The Insider]

  • we did not personally receive planes, helicopters, or MLRS systems from you;

  • yes. WAGNER PMC is number 1 in the ranks of private military companies, recognized around the world;

  • we are always ready to talk “man to man.” Especially since we’ve known each other since the First and Second Chechen Wars.”

Convicted war criminal and former defense minister of the so-called “DPR” Igor Girkin (aka Strelkov) also drew attention to Utkin’s statement, pointing out that “Wagner” had fought in Chechnya as part of Russia’s GRU special forces units while Delimkhanov and Daudov “were on the other side.”

During the First Chechen War, which lasted from December 1994 to August 1996, Ramzan Kadyrov's clan fought on the side of the breakaway Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Akhmad Kadyrov, Ramzan Kadyrov’s father, later said that he called on every Chechen to “kill as many Russians as you can” during the conflict. In 1999, Akhmad Kadyrov defected to Russia, and became the interim head of the Chechen administration the following year.
According to journalist Yulia Latynina, Ramzan had loudly claimed that he had “killed his first Russian at age 16” during a meeting in the reception room of President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to the Southern Federal Region, Dmitry Kozak. Kadyrov later denied making the statement. Since there is no video or audio evidence of the conversation, it is impossible to verify whose claim is correct.

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