The leader of the notorious mercenaries hired to assist Russia in its war against Ukraine launched an extraordinary expletive-laden tirade against Vladimir Putin’s defence ministry yesterday. It came in the aftermath of a drone strike in Moscow, which had prompted the Russian president to warn Ukraine that it was pushing him “to respond”.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, who heads the Wagner group, slammed Russia’s military leaders after Tuesday’s incident, which brought the war 700 miles away much closer to the civilians in the capital.
Angered that drones managed to reach so far into the country, Prigozhin ranted at the defence ministry: “Why the f— are you allowing these drones to fly to Moscow?”
READ MORE: Russia blames Ukraine for drone ‘terrorist attack’ on Moscow
“Let your houses burn,” Prigozhin remarked. “And what should ordinary people do when drones with explosives crash into their windows? So as a citizen, I am deeply outraged that these scum sit quietly with their a—holes smeared with expensive creams. And that’s why I think the people have every right to ask them these questions, these b——s.”
Prigozhin, who has repeatedly criticised Russia’s military leadership, added: “I have already warned about this many times, but no one wants to listen — because I’m angry and I upset bureaucrats who have a great life.”
According to reports from the Associated Press, the Kremlin appeared to downplay the significance of the attack, pictures of which showed residents being evacuated and some damaged buildings. The Russian defence ministry issued a formal statement claiming it had shot down five drones and had used jamming devices to force others off course.
Countering Prigozhin’s tirade, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia’s air defence system had “worked well,” the Reuters agency reported.
Peskov put the blame on Kyiv for the attack, claiming it was proof that the war in Ukraine should continue. “It is, of course, obvious that this is an attack by the Kyiv regime,” he said.
Republic, a Russian online magazine, quoted the Russian president as agreeing that the air defence system had “worked satisfactorily,” but conceding that there was “still work to be done”. He also accused Ukraine of engaging in terrorism and warned: “Residents of Ukraine should understand that the leadership of their country is pushing Russia to respond”.
However, Ukraine denied direct involvement in the drone attack on the Russian capital.
Kyiv was bombarded by Russia once again overnight on Monday, marking the “seventeenth round of air strikes on Kyiv this month, many of which have devastated civilian areas,” according to a State Department spokesperson.