Yevgeny Prigozhin points to his dead troops that he blames on Putin’s lack of support and supplies
Russian Troops in Exchange for Sparing His Wagner For-Hire Army
US military intelligence documents allegedly shared on a Discord server by Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old airman at a National Guard unit in Massachusetts, included a briefing on a January meeting between Prigozhin and unnamed Ukrainian officials where the Wagner leader made his desperate offer.
In exchange for Ukrainians pulling back from the front lines of battle in Bakhmut, where Wagner mercenaries have faced heavy losses that Prigozhin blames on Putin’s lack of support and supplies, Prigozhin would reveal the locations of Russian troops and stand by as Ukraine attacked.
Some versions of the leaked documents circulating online have been edited, Insider previously reported, but two anonymous Ukrainian officials confirmed to WaPo that Prigozhin has spoken to Ukrainian intelligence officers on multiple occasions. One official indicated Prigozhin had made the offer regarding Bakhmut more than once but Kyiv leaders, skeptical of his objectives, declined.
Prigozhin has publicly feuded with Russian military commanders, who he furiously claims have failed to equip and resupply his forces, which have provided vital support to Moscow’s war effort. But he is also an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who might well regard Prigozhin’s offer to trade the lives of Wagner fighters for Russian soldiers as a treasonous betrayal.
Two Ukrainian officials confirmed that Prigozhin has spoken several times to the Ukrainian intelligence directorate, known as HUR. One official said that Prigozhin extended the offer regarding Bakhmut more than once, but that Kyiv rejected it because officials don’t trust Prigozhin and thought his proposals could have been disingenuous. A U.S. official also cautioned that there are similar doubts in Washington about Prigozhin’s intentions.
But there is no debating Prigozhin’s bitter frustration with the grinding fight in Bakhmut. He has complained, publicly and privately, that the Russian Defense Ministry has not given his fighters the ammunition and other resources they need to succeed. Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, has seen some of the bloodiest fighting of the war. Over the past few months, in a grinding back and forth measured by city blocks, Ukrainian and Russian forces have taken steep casualties.
Yevgeny Prigozhin denied the report, calling it laughable.