The head of the notorious Russian mercenary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigoshin, has caused a stir with a text about a possible end to the war in Ukraine. Many Ukrainian media in particular referred to a blog entry by the 61-year-old at the weekend, which said: “Today it is necessary for state power and for society to to put some fat dot behind the military special operation.” Even after more than a year, Russia’s pro-Kremlin circles still refer to the war as a rule only as a “special military operation”.
Prigozhin went on to write in the text published on Friday: “The ideal variant would be to announce the end of the military special operation and to declare that Russia has achieved all of its planned goals – and in a certain respect we have really achieved it.” And: “For Russia there is always a risk that the situation at the front may deteriorate after the start of the (Ukrainian) counter-offensive.” Experts expect a Ukrainian offensive in the coming weeks. The only possibility at the moment is to “bite down” in the occupied territoriessaid Prigozhin. However, this would mean a retreat from the Kremlin’s actual war aims. Among other things, these provide for the complete conquest of the four Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia and Cherson, which Russia illegally annexed last year.
At the same time, however, Prigozhin, whose mercenaries are currently fighting primarily for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, against any negotiations which would provide for the ceding of territories occupied by Russia to Ukraine. Contrary to his previous words, he also wrote that fighting must continue – and threatened the Ukrainian army: “See you in Bachmut.” Later he had his press service comment on the first media reports that addressed his alleged demand for an end to the war. The main message of his article was that there must be an “honest fight,” he clarified.