The Wagner Group is fully funded by the Kremlin and has received tens of billions of rubles in public money over the past year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, days after the paramilitary group’s failed coup attempt.
« I want to emphasize and I want everyone to know: The upkeep of the entire Wagner group has been completely provided by the state, » Putin said at a meeting with Russian defense ministry officials, according to state news outlets. TAX AND Ria Novosti. « From the Ministry of Defense, from the state budget, we have fully financed this group. »
From May 2022 to May 2023, the Russian state paid more than 86 billion rubles (about $940 million) to the Wagner Group, Putin said. POLITICO was unable to independently verify that claim.
This is the first time the Russian president has publicly acknowledged that the group is funded by the Russian state.
The Wagner paramilitary group, created in 2014 by oligarch-turned-warlord-turned-mutineer Yevgeny Prigozhin, has been involved in some of the fiercest fights of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and is active in various locations in Africa and the Middle East.
But the group is currently in shambles after Wagner troops, led by Prigozhin, turned on Russia’s military leadership last weekend, bringing the country to the brink of civil war.
The Wagner mutiny ended with Prigozhin Impressive an agreement with the Kremlin and Minsk, under which all combatants involved in the rebellion would avoid prosecution, while the castrated warlord would flee to Belarus.