Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin took to his social media today to offer President Zelensky a deal: control of Bakhmut and Dnipro awarded after a single dogfight. He shot the video from the backseat of a Russian Su-24 which he reportedly served as a navigator onboard during strikes in Eastern Ukraine.
He said: “Tomorrow I’m boarding a MiG-29. If yours takes it, take Artemovsk (Bakhmut ), if not, we’ll go to the Dnieper.”
Wagner Group Owner Prighozin offering a fighter duel for control over Bakhmut and Dnipro from the back seat of a Russian Su-24. pic.twitter.com/Kvh5d9A7Nu
— Tessaron News (@TessaronF) February 6, 2023
This deal further demonstrates the driving force behind cult of personalities in the Russo-Ukraine war. Prighozin has been given almost free rein by President Putin to conduct his own war in Eastern Ukraine with his Wagner Group. By recruiting shock troops from prisons, the group has swelled to more than 40,000 fighters with a bulk of them deployed in and around Bakhmut. Prighozin has taken to his social media to discredit the Russian military as he claims his troops have done a bulk of the fighting for the embattled Ukrainian city.
Since Wagner does not own combat tactical aircraft such as the Su-24, his ability to reportedly serve on a mission demonstrates the immense power he has gained with President Putin.