Russia’s Prigozhin admits link to Wagner mercenaries for first time

Monday, 26 Sep 2022 4:40 PM MYT

LONDON, Sept 26 —Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin said today that he had founded the Wagner Group private military company in 2014, the first public confirmation of a link he has previously denied.

The Wagner Group, staffed by veterans of the Russian armed forces, has fought in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic and Mali, among other countries.

The press service of Prigozhin’s Concord catering firm posted his comments on the social network VKontakte in response to a request for comment on why he had stopped denying his links to Wagner.

“I cleaned the old weapons myself, sorted 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 came to be called the Wagner Battalion,” Prigozhin said.

“I am proud that I was able to defend their right to protect the interests of their country,” he said in the statement.

Prigozhin’s Concord catering firm did not respond to Reuters requests to confirm the statement, which was also published by Russia’s state news agency RIA.

Prigozhin, known as “Putin’s chef” due to his company’s Kremlin catering contracts, has been sanctioned by Western countries for his role in Wagner. — Reuters