Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin repeatedly offered to reveal the positions of Russian troops to Ukraine’s federal intelligence agency, according to leaked documents obtained by The Washington Post.
The leaks, originally published on Discord, reportedly indicate that the Wagner boss made the offer in late January. In exchange, Prigozhin asked that Ukraine withdraw its troops from the eastern city of Bakhmut, the report said.
The documents did not specify which Russian army positions were on the table in Prigozhin’s proposal, and Ukrainian officials reportedly decided against taking the mercenary boss up on his offer, citing a lack of trust that he would hold up his end of the bargain.
Two Ukrainian officials confirmed the correspondence between Prigozhin and the intelligence agency to the publication. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly declined to comment on the matter in an interview with WaPo.
News of Prigozhin’s proposal comes after a slew of heated public clashes between the shadow army boss and Russia’s defense ministry over Moscow’s strategy in Ukraine.
Just last week, Prigozhin released a profanity-laced video referring to “the complete asshole” running Russia’s war efforts, stirring speculation about whether he was referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.
Days before that, the Wagner boss announced he would be withdrawing his mercenaries from Bakhmut after repeatedly deriding Moscow for failing to deliver enough ammunition and other resources to boost his forces. The video featured graphic footage of dead Russian fighters piled up on a field.
The feud has escalated so much that some in the Kremlin expect Moscow’s security services to step in, according to Meduza.
“As long as Wagner is there [on the frontline], there is little danger for Prigozhin, he has the chance to enter into direct dialogue with the president. But if it goes on like this, the official security forces will definitely stop it,” one source close to the Kremlin told the outlet.
According to the Washington Post report, Putin’s administration likely suspects that the Wagner boss has been communicating with Ukrainian intelligence.