The Wagnerite leader allegedly wanted to provide data on specific Russian military positions so that they could be attacked by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
A new sensation has been found in the leak of secret Pentagon data. The Washington Post, referring to these data, claims that in January 2023, the head of the Wagner PMC Yevgeny Prigozhin was allegedly offered by Ukrainian military intelligence to reveal the positions of Russian troops in exchange for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to leave Bakhmut. The newspaper claims that Kyiv rejected this proposal because it did not trust Prigozhin, but allegations that such negotiations allegedly took place caused a scandal.
The leader of the Wagnerites allegedly wanted to provide data on specific positions of the Russian military so that they could be attacked by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It is not clear from the leaked documents which positions of the occupiers he proposed to reveal, but it is said to have been advised to continue the offensive to reach occupied Crimea. Prigozhin said that the military of the Russian Federation is facing a shortage of ammunition and has low morale.
One of the documents says that the head of the Wagner PMC allegedly spoke on the phone with GUR officials and personally met with some in one of the African countries. Another says that Kyiv suspects that the Kremlin is aware of GUR’s contacts with Prigozhin. Two Ukrainian officials, on condition of anonymity, confirmed to WP that he had spoken to GUR on several occasions. According to one of the interlocutors, Prigozhin “repeated the proposal to Bakhmut over and over again,” but Kyiv rejected it due to lack of trust and doubts about the sincerity of the proposals.
Prigozhin has been in a heated public confrontation with Russian military leaders, who he claims are insufficiently arming and resupplying his mercenaries.
But he is also a pillar of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, as the Washington Post has argued, may find Prigozhin’s offer to trade the lives of Wagner fighters for Russian soldiers fraudulent.
The paper also cited other “leaked” Pentagon documents indicating that the Russian Defense Ministry is seriously considering how to respond to Prigozhin’s criticism and requests for more resources. The documents obtained by the newspaper also deal with the power struggle between “Putin’s chef” and top Russian officials, in particular, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Prigogine himself initially ironically commented on the article in the Washington Post.
“Of course, I can confirm this information. We have nothing to hide from foreign intelligence services. Budanov and I are still in Africa,” Prigozhin said on his Telegram channel.
However, later in a long audio commentary, the head of Wagner called the WP statements speculative, and also suggested that “some of the journalists decided to hype” or some “comrades from Rublyovka ” decided to “pour shit.” He did not comment on the charges in more detail.
Reaction to Ukraine
In early May, President Volodymyr Zelensky gave an interview to WP. Answering a question about possible contacts between GUR and Prigozhin, he said: this is a question of “military intelligence.”
This excerpt from the interview on the WP site was initially removed, but then reinstated.
“This is a matter of military intelligence,” Zelensky said. “Do you want to convict me of treason? And therefore it is very interesting if someone says that you have documents or if there is one from our government that speaks about the activities of our intelligence, I want to ask you: what sources in Ukraine are you contacting? Who is talking about the activities of our intelligence? This is the most serious crime in our country.”
And then the president asked where the journalists got such data and which of the Ukrainians they talked to, because leaking such information is treason.
A representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine himself also avoided a direct answer to the question about Prigozhin’s contacts with the Main Intelligence Directorate. Commenting on the publication in the Washington Post, Andrey Yusov said that “Ukraine should, and, of course, the special services, are and should discuss these matters when it is necessary and will be in the national interest of Ukraine.”
This was followed by a small battle in which Zelenskiy questioned the Washington Post’s motivation for publishing such leaks. Since October 2021, the newspaper has periodically published materials citing some anonymous representative of the US administration or the intelligence community about Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Such publications have repeatedly caused irritation in Kyiv.
“You have published some information that does not help our state. So, I do not quite understand what you are talking about. I do not quite understand your purpose. Is your purpose to help Russia? So there is we have different goals,” Zelensky told interviewers, adding that each of these questions undermines Ukraine, undermines partners to help Ukraine.
“One way or another, I just don’t understand your purpose,” concluded the Ukrainian president.
The representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine, Andriy Yusov, who commented on the publication in the Washington Post, said that “Ukraine should, and, of course, the special services, are and should discuss these matters when it is necessary and meets the national interest of Ukraine.”
I am David Wyatt, a professional writer and journalist for Buna Times. I specialize in the world section of news coverage, where I bring to light stories and issues that affect us globally. As a graduate of Journalism, I have always had the passion to spread knowledge through writing.