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Wagner chief refuses to sign his fighters up to ‘shameful’ Russian military

Prigozhin says Wagner PMC won’t sign any contracts with Russian Ministry of Defense

In a growing standoff between the Russian Ministry of Defence and the infamous private military company known as the Wagner Group, tensions have escalated as the deadline approaches for the group’s fighters to sign contracts directly with Putin’s military. According to the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), the situation could have broader implications for Russia’s security landscape.

In its latest update on the Ukraine war, the UK MoD said the saga began on June 10, 2023, when the Russian MoD made an unprecedented demand for members of “volunteer formations” such as the Wagner Group to sign contracts directly with them.

The move received explicit endorsement from President Putin himself, who publicly supported the measure on June 13, 2023.

However, despite Putin’s backing, Prigozhin declared on June 14, 2023, that none of Wagner’s fighters were willing to “go down the path of shame again” and, as a result, would not sign the contracts demanded by the Russian MoD.

The UK MoD wrote: “On 10 June 2023, the Russian MoD demanded that members of ‘volunteers formations’ such as Wagner Group sign contracts directly with the MoD, a move explicitly endorsed by President Putin on TV on 13 June 2023.

“For several months, Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin has been aiming vitriolic criticism at the MoD hierarchy but deferred to Putin’s authority.

“However, despite Putin’s comments, on 14 June 2023 Prigozhin said that, ‘none of Wagner’s fighters are ready to go down the path of shame again. That’s why they will not sign the contracts.

“Prigozhin’s rhetoric is evolving into defiance of broader sections of the Russian establishment. 01 July 2023, the deadline for the volunteers to sign contracts, is likely to be a key way-point in the feud.”

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The Wagner Group, a shadowy private military company with reported links to the Kremlin, gained international attention for its involvement in various conflicts, including Ukraine and Syria. The group has often been accused of operating outside traditional military structures and being an instrument of Russia’s foreign policy interests.

The Russian MoD’s demand for direct contracts with Wagner fighters represents a notable shift in Russia’s approach to managing private military companies.

By seeking to bring these entities under their control, the Russian MoD aims to assert greater authority and oversight over these non-state actors, ensuring they operate within established legal frameworks.

The outcome of this power struggle between the Russian MoD and Wagner Group has far-reaching implications for Russia’s security landscape. If the deadline passes without the fighters signing the contracts, it could lead to an open confrontation, raising questions about the stability and control of the Russian military apparatus.

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