Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin calls out The Mozart Group
Wagner Group followers immediately start a disinformation campaign against Andy Milburn and The Mozart Group
UPDATE 7 DEC 2022: Col. Milburn of The Mozart Group told Newsweek that the hotels in Dunbass are being informed that the Wagner Group is targeting members of The Mozart Group after Prigozhin’s announcement on Nov 21st which falsely claims that the Mozart Group has taken over command of a Ukrainian National Guard unit and is involved in the fighting.
"There's no hotel in Donbas now that will let us stay because they've been told we're being targeted," the retired Marine Corps colonel said.
"We have had three hotels that we stayed in hit by missiles, which could have been random," he said, noting one hotel strike occurred the day after a Mozart group checked out. "They could definitely be targeting us, which seems like a lot of resources to focus on a group that's doing mostly humanitarian work."
3 DEC 2022 - Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch whose private army of mercenaries (the Wagner Group) has been committing war crimes in Eastern Ukraine, and in danger of being labeled a terrorist organization by President Biden, has now begun to focus attention on an international collection of veterans who have been doing humanitarian work in Ukraine since shortly after the war started.
The Mozart Group, although it consists of Special Operations Forces and other military veterans, is a humanitarian organization and not a Private Military Company (PMC) like Wagner. Mozart volunteers travel to the front lines to help evacuate civilians trapped in Bahkmut, Soledar, and some of the other circled areas in the map below because they are the only ones who can do it. It is their unique background in combat environments that gives them the ability to perform the risk calculus necessary to do evacuation work safely in an active war zone.
The toll on civilians in the circled areas has been unimaginable, especially since those who have stayed are the elderly and young children, as well as family pets. They have no power, no running water (only rain water), and no way to generate heat or cook food except with firewood. It’s these people that Mozart Group’s Evacuation team support, delivering food, water, and firewood, and providing medical care to the wounded - both civilians and Ukrainian soldiers from time to time. Most importantly, they do all of this without pay and un-armed. The money that comes in through donations goes to purchasing food, water, and medical supplies, fuel and maintenance of their vehicles, and insurance as well as room and board for the volunteers.
Visit the Mozart Group website to learn more and make a donation to support their work.
If, however, you listen to Prigozhin and his army of internet trolls at the Internet Research Agency, the “Mozart PMC” is a group of American mercenaries led by a Special Forces Colonel who are taking over the fighting from the demoralized Ukrainian forces who have suffered high casualties!
The same day that Prigozhin made this post, The Mozart Group’s website suffered a sustained DDoS attack for several hours, followed by multiple social media accounts repeating Prigozhin’s claims. Numerous articles appeared simultaneously in Russian media labeling The Mozart Group as a ЧВК (PMC), a Private Military Company including an official statement from Yevgeny Prigozhin’s own Concord Press Service:
We publish the comment of Yevgeny Viktorovich:
”There is a PMC « Wagner », we did not arrange contests for the name, so historically. And so it turned out that the PMC « Wagner » is the largest private army in the world and the most combat-ready. Therefore, no matter how they call themselves - « Mozart » or « Salieri », « Schubert » or « Kirkorov » - various military formations, in any case, this does not give them strength or advantages, nothing but a hype.”
According to this graphic prepared by CNN, Concord is at the center of Prigozhin’s business empire.
Note that the ostensible military head of Wagner, Dmitry Utkin, is also the Director General of Concord, and that the Internet Research Agency, the Russian troll farm that attempted to influence the 2016 Presidential elections, is a Prigozhin-owned operation. Information about the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the IRA can be read here.
The choice of a German composer coincides with the Nazi leanings of the leadership and, most likely, the mercenaries who join the group. This photo of Utkin shows Nazi-themed tattoos, and a captured Samsung tablet from a Wagner Group mercenary in Libya contains, among other things, ebook versions of Hitler’s Mein Kampf” and Henry Ford’s “The International Jew.”
The Wagner Group is a stain on the art of soldiering. The number of human rights violations attributed to this group is staggering. Here are just a few accumulated by Lawrence Wittner for CounterPunch:
In Syria, the Wagner Group’s soldiers, fighting to maintain the Assad dictatorship, were filmed laughing as they used a sledgehammer to break the bones of a Syrian army deserter before dismembering his body and cutting off his head.
In the Central African Republic, UN investigators reported that the Wagner Group’s forces tortured, raped, and murdered civilians, forcibly recruited child soldiers, and engaged in widespread looting.
In Libya, Wagner mercenaries reportedly booby-trapped civilian homes with explosives attached to toilet seats and teddy bears.
And that doesn’t count their crimes in Ukraine.
While President Biden is weighing whether to label the Wagner Group as a terrorist organization, he has now officially added them to the list of Entities of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act “based on its actions in the Central African Republic.
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