MOSCOW: The head of the Russian mercenary outfit Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed on Friday that a former US Marine general was working for the group.

In response to a request for comment from Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Prigozhin said: “There are not very many Finnish citizens in the Wagner PMC, about 20 people. But for obvious reasons, I cannot give exact information about them.

“I have a very good opinion about the Finns on the battlefield. They are fighting in a British battalion (as part of Wagner PMC), which is commanded by a US citizen, a former general of the Marine Corps.”

Prigozhin, dubbed “Putin’s chef” because of his Kremlin catering contracts, has been hit with EU and US sanctions. In September he disclosed for the first time that he founded the Wagner group in 2014 to fight in Ukraine and acknowledged its presence in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

For years, the Wagner group has been suspected of playing a role in realising the Kremlin’s overseas ambitions, including in Ukraine where Wagner fighters have been at the forefront of Moscow’s February offensive.

This month Wagner opened a headquarters in Russia’s second city of Saint Petersburg.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2022

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