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from News | Mail Online.
Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhi and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov ‘have openly declared war’ on Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu after Russia’s catastrophic series of defeats in Ukraine
- The two lieutenants have paired up in an open feud with the Defence Ministry
- They have criticised the Ministry’s work after a series of embarrassing defeats
- It comes after Russia illegally annexed four Ukrainian regions to Russia last week
- Russia is resorting to desperate tactics such as recruiting criminals to the army
Chechen boss Ramzan Kadyrov and founder of the Wagner ‘private army’ or militia Yevgeny Prigozhin have turned on the minister amid heavy defeats and losses over the last two weeks, The Guardian reports.
It comes after Russia illegally annexed four Ukrainian regions including Donetsk and Luhansk in an announcement to which he gathered all of the country’s top leaders and told the world the regions would ‘remain with Russia forever.’
But just 24 hours later, there was clear evidence Ukraine was making major gains in the regions, recapturing land that Putin had just claimed as part of Russia.
This week gains in the south and east of Ukraine continued and triggered the two army leaders to openly ‘declare war’ on the Defence Minister, who is an easy target to blame for Russia’s poor military results.
The Kremlin is turning to increasingly desperate measures in order to save face and try and halt the Ukrainian advance, including recruiting prisoners straight out of jail and, now, open infighting.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu speaks during a meeting in Moscow on Tuesday as senior figures declared war on him and his department
Founder of Putin’s private militia, or Wagner unit, Yevgeny Prigozhin has had a long-standing feud with the Defence Minister
Chechnya’s regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov was one of those who attended Moscow and signed the treaties which illegally annexed four Ukrainian regions on September 30
‘Putin is a very destructive personality, he will play the different factions off each other and see what the best outcome will be,’ a former Defence Ministry official told the Guardian.
‘He doesn’t know how to fix relationships, so in the end, someone will fall victim. Putin just wants to see what is best for him and the war in Ukraine.’
The feud between Prigozhin and Shoigu is said to stretch back long before the start of the seven-month war in Ukraine, and is said to have started after Prigozhin formed the Wagner unit during the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Former Wagner Commander Marat Gabidullin told The Guardian: ‘On the current wave of patriotism, he wants to position himself as a fierce defender of the motherland who created a professional military organisation.
‘He wants to show that he can fight better than the regular army. We always had tensions with the ministry of defence, we really didn’t like each other.’