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Vladamir Putin Deepens Feud With Russian Mercenary Chief Who Bragged His Rogue Troops Captured Key Ukrainian Battleground

Putin Contradicts Mercenary Chief Who Claims He Captured Ukrainian Town
Source: Mega

Jan. 11 2023, Published 6:30 p.m. ET

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Vladimir Putin released a statement directly contradicting claims made by his mercenary chief that a key Ukrainian salt mining town had been captured, RadarOnline.com has learned.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was dubbed “Putin’s chef” before being named chief of the Wagner mercenary group, issued a photo of himself and his mercenaries standing in a salt mine in the eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar.

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Putin Contradicts Mercenary Chief Who Claims He Captured Ukrainian Town
Source: Mega

Prigozhin also claimed that he and his private Russian paramilitary fighters “alone” captured Soledar, saying in a statement that, “This was all done by PMC Wagner with no other help.”

“Wagner units took control of the entire territory of Soledar. A cauldron has been formed in the centre of the city in which urban fighting is going on,” Prigozhin continued. “The number of prisoners will be announced tomorrow.”

But shortly after Prigozhin issued his statement, the Kremlin released a statement of their own indicating otherwise.

“Assault squads are fighting in the city,” the Kremlin said. They also indicated that Russian forces had “blocked Soledar from the northern and southern areas of the city” and that the Russian air force is still in the process of striking “enemy strongholds.”

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Putin Contradicts Mercenary Chief Who Claims He Captured Ukrainian Town
Source: Mega

Soledar, Ukraine

Prigozhin’s claim that Soledar has been successfully captured by the Wagner mercenary group was also contradicted by Ukraine, who indicated fighting in the salt mining town is still ongoing.

“Even after suffering colossal losses, Russia is still maniacally trying to seize Soledar - home to the largest salt mine in Europe,” Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense tweeted on Tuesday night.

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“The enemy disregards the heavy losses of its personnel and continues to storm actively,” added Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar. “The approaches to our positions are simply strewn with the bodies of dead enemy fighters. Our fighters are bravely holding the defense.”

The confusion over whether Prigozhin and his Russian mercenaries have successfully captured Soledar, and Putin’s unusual contradiction that they have not, have led many Kremlin officials to question whether Putin still has control over his mercenary chief.

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Putin Contradicts Mercenary Chief Who Claims He Captured Ukrainian Town
Source: Mega

Other officials have suggested Prigozhin is attempting to stake his claim over Russia’s military should Putin either die suddenly or be ousted from office – at which point a power vacuum would be created and a fight launched over who would become Putin's successor.

As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Prigozhin has already been accused of planning a coup against Putin by using the 20,000 mercenaries at his disposal to march on Moscow and oust the 70-year-old Russian leader.

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"Prigozhin has 20,000 bloodthirsty, armed and aggressive men," said investigative journalist Christo Grozev in December. "They’re telling me: ‘We’re wondering if we should just lay down our arms because we’ve been turned into cannon fodder and go to Moscow?’ That’s in their thought process already."

"This pressure cooker has to explode in one direction or another," Grozev added, suggesting Prigozhin’s alleged coup could take place sometime this year. "Either it will be a bloody revolution or something else."

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