Wagner CEO announces bid for Ukraine presidency amid political tensions with Putin | World | News

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Wagner’s boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has revealed plans to succeed President Volodomyr Zelensky as Ukraine’s leader. The founder and mercenary leader of the Wagner Group made the strange claim in a video message that said he was on the front line of the war in Ukraine. He is seen standing on top of a tall building in what he says is Bakhmut.

Gunfire and explosive bombs can be heard in the background of the video.

Wagner led the offensive in Bakhmut, which became the longest and bloodiest battle of the year-long Russian offensive.

The mercenary leader, clad in military gear, opened the video by saying he had “political ambitions” for the next year, adding: “I have decided to run for president in 2024.”

In a strange twist of tongue-in-cheek, he paused for a moment before adding: “The President of Ukraine.”

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However, the claim seemed to be another dig at the Russian defense ministry as its requests for more weapons are going on in Moscow.

He suggested that if he were to defeat President Zelensky in a presidential race, “everything will be fine and there will be no need for weapons”.

Mr Prigozhin is embroiled in a bitter feud with defense ministers after criticizing the way Russia was attacked.

He has repeatedly accused Russia’s main military of deliberately cutting military supplies to its troops.

He said his forces needed 10,000 tons of ammunition per month for the battle.

Mr Prigozhin also mocked Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

He sarcastically praised them as “outstanding military leaders” and said that Russia’s greatest military leaders – Georgy Zhukov and Alexander Suvorov – “could have learned from them”.

Mr Prigozhin also announced that Wagner recruitment centers have opened in 42 Russian cities, in a move expected to strengthen his political power.

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