Putin: Russian Federation Funded Wagner Group from Its State Budget

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Despite the fact that the law in Russia prohibits the activities of private military companies and mercenaries, the Wagner Group was not restricted, but also received multibillion funding from the Russian state budget. Russian President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged this funding. According to him, in just one year, from May 2022 to May 2023, 86.262 billion rubles were allocated from the state budget for Wagner activities. “As for Wagner - we have always respected them, because they have shown courage and heroism. Our country respected those who served there. The maintenance of the entire Wagner group was fully funded by the state,” Putin said. He noted that in addition to funding from the state, Prigozhin and his company received a lot of money through government contracts for the food supply. “At the same time, the owner [of the Wagner Group] - the Concord company - through a military trading company, with the fact that the maintenance of Wagner was on the shoulders of the state, earned, supplying food and providing food services to the army, 80 billion rubles in a year,” Putin added. He expressed hope that “in the course of this activity no one stole anything, or shall we say, stole less,” RBC quoted him. Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner Group, ordered a military mutiny on the evening of June 23. He said that the Wagner would oppose the military command of Russia, and the troops intend to come and find out “why is a lot of mayhem going on”. After holding secret talks, Prigozhin agreed to cancel the “march on Moscow” and return his units to the rear points. According to the press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov, the criminal case of armed insurgency against Yevgeny Prigozhin will be dismissed. Wagner Group will withdraw to its field camps, there will be no persecution against them, and Prigozhin will go to Belarus. On the evening of June 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a tele message to the nation that the Wagner soldiers “were covertly used”. According to him, the troops “took the only correct decision” and “stopped at the last line”. Putin acknowledged that Russian pilots had been killed in the attempt to suppress the mutiny. The exact number of casualties was not reported.