Wagner Group founder: 'Ideal' option for Russia to cease active phase of war and go on defensive

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Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin's press service published a text on April 14 that says the "ideal option" would be for Russia to cease the active phase of the war and "firmly entrench" itself in the occupied territories.

"The ideal option would be to announce the end of the conflict, to inform everyone that Russia has achieved the planned results, and in a sense, we have really achieved them," Prigozhin wrote.

According to Prigozhin, Russia's main task going forward should be "firmly establishing and entrenching" itself in the occupied territories.

At the same time, Prigozhin acknolwedged that Ukraine is a "completely national-oriented state" rather than one that views itself as a part of Russia.

The Kremlin-controlled Wagner mercenary group has been assisting Russia’s military in trying to capture Ukraine’s eastern city of Bakhmut for the past nine months as Moscow tries to consolidate its grip over the entirety of Donetsk Oblast.

There is speculation that Wagner mercenaries might be linked to the videos of Ukrainian soldiers getting beheaded that have surfaced online.

Despite the heavy fighting and losses suffered on both sides, Ukraine continues to hold Bakhmut.

On April 6, Prigozhin admitted that Ukrainian forces were not retreating from Bakhmut and said that a Russian offensive was "out of question" at the moment.

Russian forces were faced with three issues, namely a lack of "properly organized command," weak flanks, and not enough ammunition, Prigozhin added.

This contradicted his claim on April 2 that Wagner forces had captured the city administration building in Bakhmut, raising the Russian flag there.

Disputes between Prigozhin and Russian officials have also been ongoing for what the former perceives as a lack of proper artillery support for Wagner troops in Ukraine and Africa.

In the April 14 text published online, Prigozhin said that Russia "cannot accept any compromise" with Ukraine, including negotiations, and that if the Armed Forces of Ukraine couldn't be defeated "in a fair fight," then Russia should take the time to "build up its muscles" and fight once more.