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“A bunch of bastards needed the war to show off”: Prigozhin predicts Russian retreat, says Ukraine wasn’t going to attack Russia in 2022

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In the latest video released by Yevgeny Prigozhin’s press service, the Wagner Group chief says that Ukraine did not intend to attack Russia in 2022, and that Russia’s invasion was launched by a “a clan of oligarchs that now actually runs the country.” The video, laden with expletive jabs at the head of Russia’s Ministry of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, as well as other military elites, was published on June 23.

According to Prigozhin, Russia’s Defense Ministry and General Staff “still hope that they can win this war,” but at the same time “carefully” deceive Russian President Vladimir Putin by claiming unrealistic Ukrainian losses. Prigozhin says that reports of “60 destroyed [Leopard] tanks” and “thousands” of killed Ukrainian soldiers are “complete, total nonsense.” When the “deepest deceptions” are uncovered, it will be too late, says Prigozhin, and “this scum, when they’ve realized that they’ve lost a massive piece of territory, will get together and say they’ve regrouped to better positions.”

Prigozhin noted that the war began through the fault of an “oligarchic clan” ruling Russia, and the situation on the line of contact in Donbas at the beginning of 2022 was no different than it had been for years. Ukraine did not exhibit “insane aggression” and did not want to attack Russia along with NATO, said the mercenary chief.

Prigozhin called the attack on Ukraine itself a “botchedly planned operation,” when the Russian military leadership decided that no one would stop its troops during their march on Kyiv. In his opinion, that would have been the case if the “degenerates” from Russia’s General Staff had not “lined up long columns” of ill-equipped “naked and barefoot soldiers.”

The mistakes were blamed on Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, a man that Prigozhin claimed had turned into a “trembling grandfather” by mid-March 2022, with only one thing on his mind — getting out of the situation. Prigozhin also blamed Shoigu for the deaths of “tens of thousands” of soldiers.

The head of the Wagner PMC continued by saying that Shoigu has allegedly been preparing for Vladimir Putin to award him the title of Marshal and a second “Hero of Russia” star. The entire war was necessary for “a bunch of bastards to celebrate and show off.” Prigozhin also claimed that “the holy war against those who harm the Russian people” has turned into “racketeering and rent-seeking.”

Yevgeny Prigozhin is a recidivist criminal, who has been tried for theft, robbery, fraud, and involving a minor in criminal activity. The Wagner PMC founder was first convicted in 1979, aged just 18, receiving a suspended two-and-a-half year sentence for theft. Two years later, Prigozhin was sentenced to 13 years in jail for robbery and theft, nine of which he served behind bars. According to one of the criminal cases, Prigozhin and his accomplices attacked a woman, strangled her and, when she lost consciousness, stole her earrings and boots.

In 2022, Vladimir Putin awarded Prigozhin the title of “Hero of Russia.”

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