Previously, he personally recruited prisoners into PMCs.
Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is called “Putin’s chef”, told how the Wagner PMC was created, which fought in Ukraine, Syria and Sudan.
His statement published by the press service of the company “Concord” associated with it.
Prigozhin, who previously sued the media alleging his involvement in a private military company, has recently ceased to hide his connection with it. When asked by journalists why this happened, Prigozhin spoke about the creation of PMCs.
He explained how he helped Russia unleash a bloody war in Ukraine 8 years ago by gathering a group of “Russian defenders” in the Donbass.
“I myself cleaned the old weapons, figured out the bulletproof vests myself and found specialists who could help me with this. From that moment, on May 1, 2014, a group of patriots was born, which later acquired the name BTG Wagner,” says Prigozhin.
He acknowledged that the “Wagnerites” took part in the war against Ukraine, seizing objects in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and also “protected” people in Syria and other Arab countries.
Prigozhin calls the participants in the illegal formation “heroes” who “protect the disadvantaged” and “one of the pillars” of Russia.
“For a long time I avoided the blows of many opponents with one main goal – so as not to set up these guys, who are the basis of Russian patriotism. And I won on this occasion in numerous courts, including abroad, because in any case there should always be place for sports, and matches must be won on the opponent’s field,” says Prigozhin.
PMC “Wagner” in the war against Ukraine
PMC “Wagner” (since 2022 also referred to as the “League”), an armed formation manned by mercenaries, was created in 2014 to participate in armed conflicts without the involvement of regular troops.
“Wagnerites” have been participating in hostilities, in particular, in eastern Ukraine, since 2014. Russia also attracted them during a full-scale war unleashed in 2022.
In 2017, the Security Service of Ukraine announced the results of its investigation, according to which the first information about the Wagner militants appeared on May 29, 2014. They participated in the battles for the Lugansk airport, and in the battle for Debaltseve. The SBU also suspects two mercenaries of shooting down an Il-76 near Lugansk on June 14, 2014.
In March 2022, members of the group began participating in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to British intelligence, the PMC acted in coordination with the Russian military and was responsible for certain sectors of the front. Previously, the group was not involved in open military activities by Russia.
One of their tasks was sabotage, terrorist attacks and assassinations of the top leadership of Ukraine, in particular, they reported on the preparation of the assassination of President Volodymyr Zelensky. Also, as reported by Ukrainian intelligence, “Wagnerites” are involved in the mining of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.
According to the UK Department of Defense, the Wagner PMC has suffered heavy losses in a full-scale war, and has lowered the requirements for those who become mercenaries. It was also noted that the PMC compensates for the acute shortage of infantry by the Wagnerites.
In September, a video appeared showing PMC curator Prigozhin campaigning for convicts from a Russian penal colony to join her. Prigozhin’s personal involvement in the recruitment of convicts has been previously reported since July. Prigozhin, without directly confirming this, turned to critics of his actions with the words that “either PMCs and prisoners, or your children” will participate in the war.
Prigozhin himself is wanted by the FBI because of interference in the US presidential election in 2016, as the curator of the “troll factory”. It is also under EU sanctions due to its role in undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine.