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The oligarch who controls the Wagner mercenary group has lashed out at Russian politicians for not being supportive enough of the war in Ukraine.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, nicknamed “Putin’s chef” because of his close ties to the Kremlin and his history of catering lavish events for the Russian President, challenged members of the State Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian parliament) to fund their own private armies or head out onto the frontline in Ukraine themselves.
In a statement, he said: “Those people who have been shouting slogans from the rostrum have to start doing something.
“I’m calling on the talking heads to get together and lead units like Wagner while those who lack managerial skills can pick up automatic rifles or at least saper’s shovels. This will be a true service to the Motherland.”
The Wagner mercenary group – sometimes referred to as Putin’s private army – has had extensive involvement in the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, with Mr Prigozhin recruiting fighters from prisons to fight on the front lines.