On 19 June 2023, Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin said that he was expecting a reply from the Russian MoD regarding a ‘contract’ of his own drafting which he had delivered to the ministry three days before.
This follows the MoD’s own ultimatum to Wagner and other ‘volunteer formations’ to sign contracts with the MoD by 01 July 2023.
Although the content of Prigozhin’s document has not been made public, the act of him delivering it raises the stakes, and is highly likely another deliberate effort to undermine the authority of the official military authorities.
Prigozhin’s tone towards the MoD has become unambiguously confrontational. The MoD almost certainly sees this as deeply unfortunate at a time when it is grappling with Ukraine’s counter-offensive.