The owner of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has recently complained that the Russian Defense Ministry does “not like” him, has a new patron, a Russian oligarch, CEO of Rosneft Igor Sechin, writes the publication “We can explain”.
The news outlet reports, citing an informed source, that Sechin and Prigozhin had an informal meeting, after which Sechin agreed to sponsor the Wagner Group from Rosneft’s budget.
Prigozhin has long been in conflict with the Russian military leadership. In December, Wagner fighters recorded a video in which they insulted the head of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, complaining that the Russian Defense Ministry is withholding ammunition from the Wagner PMC.
Prigozhin said that while the Russian troops in Ukraine were under the commanded of General Surovikin, his PMC had no problems with ammunition. "I'm not sticking it in your face that you're eating breakfast on golden dishes and sending your daughters to vacation in Dubai when Russian soldiers die at the front. Provide ammunition in sufficient quantity, which you have in warehouses, " said Prigozhin, indirectly addressing the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, whose daughter celebrated the New Year in Dubai.
Prigozhin has repeatedly said that the Russian Defense Ministry ignores his requests for ammunition and weapons for his PMC.
The former Russian statesman, and now a German blogger Alfred Kokh believes that the founder of the Russian PMC has been recently giving signs to the Ukrainian leadership that it is possible to negotiate with the Wagner PMC.
"Prigozhin is by no means a fool, and he is not going to become a "boar", who was fed to get fat just to be killed in the right time. And realizing that Putin was deliberately distancing himself from him and that in Russia he and his mercenaries had already been written off as cannon fodder, he decided that it was time to look for new masters. They are mercenaries after all, or who? Kokh argues. - If one employer does not fulfill the terms of the contract, then there is nothing shameful in moving to serve another. After all, it was not the soldier of fortune who refused to fulfill the contract, it was his employer who deflated and betrayed him."
According to Kokh, Prigozhin is desperately sending signals to Zelensky, sometimes calling him "respected Volodymyr Oleksandrovych", then bursting out in compliments and admiring the bravery of Ukrainian soldiers, then openly saying that "I would like to talk directly with Zelensky."
It is likely that the Kremlin also noticed that Prigozhin is making advances towards the Ukrainian President and appointed him a "curator" in order to keep the Wagner founder within the bounds of decency.