‘Putin’s chef’ admits to US election meddling

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Prigozhin, who is also known as “Putin’s chef”, confirmed the accusations for the first time after rejecting it for years…reports Asian Lite News

Yevgeny Prigozhin, an entrepreneur connected to Moscow Kremlin admitted that he had interfered in United States elections and would continue to do so, media reported.

Prigozhin, who is also known as “Putin’s chef”, confirmed the accusations for the first time after rejecting it for years.

 “Gentlemen, we have interfered, are interfering and will interfere. Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do,” Prigozhin said in remarks posted on social media.

Prigozhin was called “Putin’s chef” because his restaurants and catering businesses hosted dinners which Putin attended with foreign dignitaries.

It was the second major admission in recent months by the 61-year-old businessman, who has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Associated Press reported.

Prigozhin has previously sought to keep his activities under the radar and now appears increasingly interested in gaining political clout — although his goal in doing so was not immediately clear.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday that Prigozhin’s comments “do not tell us anything new or surprising”, AP reported.

“It’s well known and well documented in the public domain that entities associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin have sought to influence elections around the world, including the United States. The US has worked to expose and counter Russia’s malign influence efforts as we discover them,” AP quoted Jean-Pierre as saying.

She also said Yevgeny has been sanctioned by the United States, the UK and the European Union.

“Part of Russia’s efforts includes promoting narratives aimed at undermining democracy and sowing division and discord. It’s not surprising that Russia would be highlighting their attempted efforts and fabricating a story about their successes on the eve of an election,” she added.

In September, Prigozhin also publicly admitted his connection to the Wagner Group mercenary force, something he also had previously denied.

The Wagner group are Russian patriots and top-notch military professionals, and it’s time they were recognised as such, Prigozhin has said, while taking credit for founding the organisation, RT reported.

The unit started in 2014 as his personal project to fund a fighting force to intervene in Ukraine’s civil war on the side of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, Prigozhin claimed. He said he was one of several wealthy people in Russia, who were willing to invest their money to “defend Russians” from Kiev, but didn’t trust anyone else to use the resources the way he wanted.

“On May 1, 2014, a group of patriots was born, which was later named the Wagner group. Their valour and courage made possible the liberation of Lugansk airport and other territories and played a pivotal role in the fate of the two regions,” he said. Russia has since recognized the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as sovereign states, RT reported.

Western officials have described the Wagner group as a tool of Russian foreign policy that gives Moscow plausible deniability. Critics claim that Prigozhin has personal ties to the Kremlin. The businessman owns a catering service that won some government contracts, and earned him the moniker “Putin’s chef” in the Western media. Moscow denied claims that the Wagner group acts on its behalf.

Over the years, Wagner fighters have reportedly been involved in operations in Libya, Mali, Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic, among others. Some of its members were arrested in 2020 in Belarus on their way to the Middle East in what was allegedly a failed plot by Ukrainian intelligence to intercept their plane and capture them, RT reported.

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