Russia’s Prigozhin told Wagner will no longer fight in Ukraine, lawmaker says
PHOTO CAPTION: Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin leaves the headquarters of the Southern Military District amid the group's pullout from the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, June 24, 2023. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko/File Photo
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was told that his Wagner group would no longer fight in Ukraine as he had refused to sign contracts to bring his mercenaries under the sway of the defence ministry, a senior lawmaker said on Thursday.
Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov, an influential lawmaker who chairs the lower house of parliament's defence committee, said the trigger for Saturday's mutiny was Prigozhin's disagreement with a demand by the defence ministry that his mercenary group sign contracts.
"As you know, a few days before the attempted mutiny, the defence ministry said that all formations performing combat tasks must sign contracts with the defence ministry," said Kartapolov.
"Everyone started to implement this decision... everyone except Mr Prigozhin."
Prigozhin said on June 11 that his Wagner fighters would not sign any contract with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, adding that Shoigu was unable to manage military units.
Kartapolov said that after Prigozhin's refusal to sign the contracts he had been told that his mercenaries would no longer fight in Ukraine and thuswould not receive state money.
As a result, the lawmaker said, Prigozhin, committed treason due to "exorbitant ambitions", money and what he cast as an "excited state".
(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Gareth Jones)