The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group on Monday slammed reports that alleged he offered information on Russian troop positions to Ukraine as “laughable” and a result of a possible smear campaign.
Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin has in recent days sharpened his rhetoric against the Russian defence ministry, issuing scathing videos about Moscow’s generals.
Wagner fighters have spearheaded Moscow’s fight for the east Ukrainian city of Bakhmut and Prigozhin’s influence has skyrocketed since Moscow’s offensive.
The Washington Post published a story Sunday based on unverified US intelligence leaks on Prigozhin having contact with Ukrainian intelligence in January.
According to US documents, the newspaper said, Prigozhin had offered to Kyiv information on Russian army positions in exchange for Ukrainian troops to withdraw from areas near Bakhmut.
AFP could not verify the information reported by the Post.
Prigozhin laughed off the report in an audio message posted on Telegram.
“Reading this is of course nice. It means I am not only fighting for Russia but Zelensky is also fulfilling my orders,” Prigozhin said.
“This is laughable.”
He said “people from Rublevka” — a luxurious Moscow suburb home to the Russian elite — could be behind the allegations.
“Of course they will pour as much shit on me as they can,” he said.
Last week, Prigozhin accused Moscow’s conventional army of “fleeing” positions around Bakhmut.
He has repeatedly claimed that the Russian defence ministry was refusing to deliver ammunition to his soldiers.
This story originally appeared on France24