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Boss of Wagner, Prigozhin, Accuses Kremlin of Planting Mines to Target His Troops with Explosions.

Wagner Boss Prigozhin Says Kremlin Planted Mines to Blow up His Troops

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Russian private military company Wagner, has accused the Kremlin of deliberately planting mines to blow up his troops in Libya. Prigozhin, who was sanctioned by the US in 2018 for his alleged role in election interference, has long been linked to Wagner, which is believed to have deployed mercenaries to conflict zones in Syria, Ukraine, and elsewhere.

In an interview with the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Prigozhin claimed that his troops in Libya had been targeted by “Russian-made anti-personnel mines” that had been placed by “Kremlin representatives”. He said that the mines had been disguised as civilian objects and planted in areas where Wagner forces were likely to operate.

According to Prigozhin, the mines had caused “great losses” to his troops, but he did not give any specific figures. He also claimed that the Russian government had tried to cover up the incident and had refused to acknowledge the deaths of Wagner fighters.

The Wagner group has been involved in the conflict in Libya since at least 2019, when it was reported that hundreds of its fighters had been deployed to support the forces of the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), which is led by General Khalifa Haftar. The LNA has been fighting the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), which is based in Tripoli.

The conflict in Libya is seen as a proxy war between regional powers, with Russia supporting Haftar and his allies, including Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, while Turkey and Qatar back the GNA. The Wagner group is believed to have been recruited by the Kremlin as a tool of Russian influence in the Middle East and Africa.

Prigozhin’s allegations about the Kremlin planting mines in Libya are likely to fuel speculation about the relationship between Wagner and the Russian government. The group has been linked to Russian military intelligence, and its fighters have been accused of being involved in the downing of a Turkish drone in Libya in 2020.

However, the Kremlin has denied any official involvement with Wagner, although it has not commented on Prigozhin’s latest claims. The Russian government has also denied sending mercenaries to fight in Libya, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

Prigozhin is a controversial figure in Russia, and his business activities have been the subject of scrutiny by both domestic and international authorities. In addition to his alleged role in election interference, he has been accused of financing the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg-based troll farm that was involved in spreading disinformation during the 2016 US presidential campaign.

Overall, Prigozhin’s allegations about the Kremlin planting mines in Libya are likely to add to the complex and murky web of relationships between private military contractors, governments, and armed groups in the region. As the conflict in Libya continues to simmer, it remains to be seen what role Wagner – and its alleged link to the Russian government – will play in the future.

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