Wagner mercenary boss claims Russia killed 'huge amount' of his troops in rocket attack

Wagner private military group chief, Yevengy Prigozhin has accused Russian military leadership of killing a 'huge amount' of his mercenary forces. Credit: AP

The Wagner private military group chief has claimed that a Russian rocket attack has killed a "huge amount" of his mercenary forces, vowing those involved will be "punished" in an escalation of perceived Russian infighting.

In a number of audio messages released via Telegram on Friday, Yevengy Prigozhin seemingly declared war on the Moscow's military leadership.

Prigozhin, who is the millionaire owner of the group, also shared a video which he claimed showcased the aftermath of the rocket attack by the Russian Ministry of Defence against the Wagner camp.

The video and audio has not been independently verified by ITV News.

ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy says 'it's too early to say just how significant' Yevengy Prigozhin's comments are

Moscow has denied attacking the private military company. The Russian Ministry of Defence has called the messages and videos circulating on social networks "untrue" and "an information provocation".

Prigozhin has claimed that the "evil that is being carried out" by Russia's military leadership "must be stopped", following the alleged attack.

He added: "Many dozens, tens of thousands of lives, of Russian soldiers will be punished.

"I ask that nobody put up any resistance. Those who show such resistance, we will consider it a threat and destroy them immediately. This includes any roadblocks standing in our way, any aircraft seen over our heads."

He asked people to stay at home and "remain calm, not to be provoked", adding he is carrying out a "march of justice" and not a "military coup".

Prigozhin has previously released a number of emotive rants aimed at Russia's military leadership, often making unfounded claims and straining relationships between the allied forces.

His Wagner forces have featured throughout Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and, until recently, led the fighting for Moscow in the besieged city of Bakhmut.

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