The biggest Telegram channel affiliated to Russia's Wagner mercenary group has claimed President Vladimir Putin is preparing to “send thousands” of troops from Ukraine to Africa – abandoning the Ukraine invasion in the process.
According to various reports Russia has seen more than 250,000 troops killed since first invading Ukraine in early 2022.
And while the Wagner group was seen as Russia's most feared unit when it came to helping Putin pick up some minor wins in the war, the group has also been fighting battles in Africa on behalf of governments looking to the group to do its bidding, specifically the Central African Republic and Mali.
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In the case of the former, it was the last place that ex-Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin was seen alive before his plane exploded flying from Moscow to St Petersburg last month.
In a semi-rant on the Grey Zone Telegram channel – the first channel to confirm the death of Prigozhin – a spokesman said: “For several years, Yevgeny Prigozhin tried to convince different echelons of the Russian government that the 'African foothold' is a promising international direction, and in response he received only go-aheads, they say, 'it’s expensive, it’s impossible, and no one needs it'.
“Then he just started doing it himself with a little help from those people in the government who still care, and those who consider Russian foreign activities not only as a way to earn money.
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“A few years later, after Syria, Wagner won for itself a truly international name and fame, as well as the love of an entire region.
“By chance and pure coincidence, Evgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry 'Wagner' Utkin die on the day when a representative of the Russian Defense Ministry visits the host countries of the Wagner Group in Africa, and, as they say, they are preparing to send their thousands of contingent there, even despite the fact that there is a terrible shortage of personnel at the front in the military clash with Ukraine.”
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The source goes on to claim that Russian “bureaucracy” could “ruin” the work done by the group out there – as claimed by Prigozhin many times during rants against the Kremlin throughout the invasion of Ukraine.
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