Wagner chief threatens former fighters who claim to have been ordered to commit atrocities

Tim Lister

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner private military company, has threatened retribution against two former Wagner fighters who claimed they had been ordered to commit atrocities against civilians in eastern Ukraine.

The two men appeared on a video made by Vladimir Osechkin, the founder of, a human rights organization targeting corruption and torture in Russia.

Prigozhin confirmed on his Telegram channel that he had watched parts of the video.

“I can say the following: if at least one of these accusations against me is confirmed, I am ready to be held accountable according to any laws,” he said.

“If none is confirmed, I will send a list of 30-40 people who are spitting at me like Osechkin … that the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine is obligated to hand over to me for a ‘fair trial,’ so to speak.”

Prigozhin said the account was a “fragrant lie” and Wagner fighters “have never touched and do not touch” children.

These people (spreading the lies) are our enemies, and we will deal with them in a special way.”

Some context: Prigozhin was referring to video interviews with former Russian convicts Azamat Uldarov and Alexey Savichev – who were both pardoned by Russian presidential decrees last year, according to

Uldarov, who appears to have been drinking, details how he shot and killed a 5 or 6-year-old girl.

He called it: “A management decision. I wasn’t allowed to let anyone out alive, because my command was to kill anything in my way.”

CNN cannot independently verify their claims or identities in the videos but has obtained Russian penal documents showing they were released on presidential pardon in September and August 2022.

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