Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said he will repatriate the bodies of an American citizen who was killed in fighting in the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, and that of a Turkish citizen who was found dead.
The Russian private military chief Prigozhin announced his plans on May 25, as part of a newly released video. In the clip, Wagner fighters were shown nailing closed the two wooden coffins, and then draping a U.S. flag over one coffin and a Turkish flag over the other. Wagner identified the American as Nicholas Maimer, a former U.S. Special Forces soldier.
READ MORE from Soldier of Fortune about the Wagner Group.
Prigozhin has gained prominence for his increasingly vocal critiques against Russia’s military leadership, and the progress of Moscow’s war on Ukraine.
In a late April interview, Prigozhin said that Russian snipers who want to take him out can look through their scopes to find instructions on a wall inside their target’s office. Assassins can read the instructions from their sniper nests across the river in St. Petersburg, Prigozhin said. He discussed the instructions and other matters last week while appearing on a pro-war Russian podcast.
“Russia is on the brink of catastrophe,” Prigozhin said in his April 29 appearance on the War Gonzo program. In the nearly 90-minute video interview, Prigozhin poked the bear repeatedly, blasting the progress of Russia’s war against Ukraine, and mocking the Kremlin’s claim that the so-called “special military operation” is going according to plan.
Prigozhin’s outburst follows a string of previous charges against Russia’s military brass and his arch nemesis, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The diatribes have brought speculation over Prigozhin’s future – to include whether he would be assassinated.
Prigozhin addressed the speculation directly, saying he has offered to help any assassins by posting a checklist of tips on his office wall.