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Wagner to no longer fight Ukraine forces as chief Prigozhin rebuffs Kremlin contract | Russia Ukraine Crisis

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Wagner will no longer be serving and fighting enemy forces in Ukraine after its chief’s refusal to sign contracts with the Russian defence ministry. 

Wagner

Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin refused to sign a contract with the Russian Defence Ministry. (Image: AP/ANI)

The fate of private mercenary group Wagner appears to have come to an abrupt end in the prolonged war between Russia and Ukraine. According to a top Moscow politician, the group will no longer be serving and fighting enemy forces in Ukraine after its chief’s refusal to sign contracts with the Russian defence ministry. 

Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov, a lawmaker who chairs the lower house of parliament’s defence committee, revealed on Thursday that rebellious Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin had rejected to sign a contract that demanded his servicemen to fall under the sway of the ministry. 

What set off the botched rebellion? 

The very incident served as the trigger for the weekend rebellion that Wagner carried out in Russia, according to Kartapolov. “As you know, a few days before the attempted mutiny, the defence ministry said that all formations performing combat tasks must sign contracts with the defence ministry. Everyone started to implement this decision… everyone except Mr Prigozhin,” he said. 

As per Reuters, Prigozhin stated on June 11 that his troops will sign no such contract with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, arguing that the minister does not possess the ability to manage military forces. As a result, the mutinous chief was informed that “Wagner would not take part in a special military operation” and “funding, material resources will not be allocated”.

This, as per Kartapolov, prompted the warlord with “exorbitant ambitions” to commit treason through the revolt that fizzled out last weekend. But while Russia has ruled out Wagner’s role in the war ahead, the mercenaries continue to operate in Ukraine, according to the Pentagon. 

What’s next for Wagner? 

In a press briefing held on Thursday, Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder claimed that they “continue to see some elements of the Wagner Group in Russian-occupied territory in Ukraine”. When asked about what the future holds for the armed group, Ryder said that it is a question “best addressed by Russia”.

With Prigozhin exiled to Belarus and his troops on their way out of Ukraine, what awaits Wagner is a mystery. But far away in Africa, the force-for-hire continues to protect leaders and inflict torment on the masses, in exchange for providing Russia with access to resources and crucial ports.  

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