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6:25 a.m. ET, May 30, 2023

Wagner chief criticizes Russian Ministry of Defense over alleged Moscow drone attacks

A specialist inspects the damaged facade of a multi-storey apartment building after a reported drone attack in Moscow, Russia, on May 30.

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian private military company Wagner, has launched an expletive-laden tirade at the Russian Ministry of Defense following an alleged drone attack on Moscow on Tuesday.

Prigozhin said in an audio recording on his Telegram channel that he was aware of and concerned about the drone attack. 

“As a person who understands this somewhat, I can tell you that many years ago it was necessary to deal with these [drone] programs — that we are now years behind our opponents, years, maybe decades,” he said in response to a question from a journalist.

The mercenary boss — who has been engaged in a bitter public feud with Russia’s military leadership — said the Russian Ministry of Defense is doing “absolutely nothing at all” to catch up with developments in drone technology.

“Regarding the drones that fly over Moscow and in Moscow — you stinking animals, what are you doing? You are swine! Get up off your asses from the offices you’ve been put in to defend this country,” he said.
“You are the Ministry of Defense. You didn’t do a damn thing to stamp this out,” he continued, claiming he had warned about the threat many times but that officials did nothing to prevent it.
“Why the f** are you allowing these drones to hit Moscow?” he said. “Let your houses burn.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had met with officials at the Kremlin following the alleged attack.

Putin’s “working day started very early” and “he received information directly from law enforcement agencies, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the mayor of Moscow and the governor of the Moscow region”.

“Everyone worked properly. The air defense system also worked well. Clearly, we are talking here about the Kyiv regime’s response to our very effective strikes on one of the decision-making centers. The Sunday strike,” Peskov said.

Peskov said he could not comment on where the drones were launched from and who the target was.

“The only thing [I can say] is that it was obviously an attack of the Kyiv regime,” he added.

Ukraine has denied any direct involvement in the attack.

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