Russia’s Yevgeny Prigozhin Admits Owning Wagner Mercenary Force

    Photo: AP [via Al Jazeera]

    The Facts

    • On Monday, Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin admitted for the first time to having founded the private military company Wagner Group, reversing years of denials and court cases against media agencies that investigated him.

    • Kremlin-linked Prigozhin stated on social media that he founded the unit on May 1, 2014 – after Russia annexed Crimea's peninsula from Ukraine – staffing it with veterans of the Russian armed forces.

    The Spin

    Anti-Russia narrative

    This confession exposes the direct link between the Kremlin and Wagner Group, proving long-standing suspicions that Wagner mercenaries work for the Russian government as Prigozhin is a close ally to Putin. The private military company has committed war crimes in Ukraine, Libya, and Syria, acting in support of Russian troops.

    Pro-Russia narrative

    While Prigozhin has confirmed he owns Wagner and praised its fighters as "Russian patriots," it's a very long jump to claim that this admission proves Western accusations that the Wagner Group operates under Moscow's orders. His alleged personal ties to the Kremlin are merely catering service contracts.

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