The Wagner Group’s role in Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine is undeniable. There is significant evidence to suggest that the Wagner Group has played a significant role in Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Now, it has come to light that the Wagner group also has “back-handed contact” with the Ukrainian military intelligence agency – the GUR.
Wagner’s links with GUR
As per a report, the Washington Post has cut a large segment from an interview with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, in which he pushed the newspaper to reveal alleged traitors in his ranks and angrily accused its reporters of aiding Russia by publishing leaked documents.
As per the report, the Washington Post conducted an interview with Zelensky, during which a significant portion of the conversation was deleted from the published transcript. You may wonder why?
Actually, in the interview, the Post asked Zelensky about the possibility of his military intelligence agency, the GUR, having “back-channel contact” with Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian private military company Wagner Group. The Post referred to leaked Pentagon documents, which claimed that Zelensky had been informed by the GUR chief about a supposed Wagner plan to destabilize Moldova. The documents suggested that Zelensky could counter this alleged plan by exposing his own dealings with Prigozhin, thereby portraying Prigozhin as a traitor working with Ukraine.
However, Zelensky reacted angrily to the question, demanding to know who within his government leaked the document to the Post. He considered the leak an act of treason and insisted that the Post reveal the identity of the Ukrainian official they spoke to. Zelensky argued that publishing such information would demotivate Ukraine and accused the newspaper of playing games and potentially aiding Russia.
Reportedly, despite being told that the document did not come from Kyiv, but from Washington, Zelensky asked his interviewer to reveal “With which Ukrainian official did you talk?”
Zelensky did not dispute that the meeting with Budanov had happened during the explosive exchange. However, it was missing from the Post’s transcript. The entire 1,400-word back-and-forth about the document was removed, with no explanation given.
This is yet again another significant development. Wagner Group’s coordination with Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, the GUR is intriguing.
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What does it mean?
It indicates a complex web of relationships and interests in the Ukrainian conflict. The Wagner may have attempted to remind Russian President Vladimir Putin of its importance and it could reflect its desire to maintain a prominent role in the ongoing war. By leveraging its connections with Ukrainian intelligence, Wagner could wield influence over various actors involved in the conflict.
Further, Yevgeny Prigozhin, often referred to as “Putin’s chef”, has been associated with the Wagner Group. He is the financier and the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner and his personal ambitions and potential interest in becoming the President of Ukraine add another layer to this complex narrative.
Recently, Yevgeny Prigozhin announced that he intends to run for the office of the President of Ukraine. In a video circulated online, the Wagner chief laid out his “political ambitions” for the next year.
“I’m making a political coming out. Looking at everything around me, I’ve got political ambitions. I decided to run for president in 2024. President of Ukraine,” the Wagner chief announced.
Read More: Yevgeny Prigozhin: Putin’s master chef could be Ukraine’s ‘Next’ President
The Wagner chief announced that he would run against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In his proclamation, Yevgeny Prigozhin asserted that things will be better if he gets elected.
Thus, with the recent development it is possible that once again, Prigozhin is preparing for his candidacy for Ukraine’s Presidency and reminding Putin of his importance with regard to Russia’s ambitions in the Ukraine conflict.
The upcoming presidential elections in 2024 will be a pivotal moment for Ukraine’s future, and Prigozhin’s bid for Presidency could prove to be a major turning point.
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