Leaked documents reveal cozy ties between Russia's new Defence Minister and Wagner Group founder

Newly appointed Russian Defence Minister Andrei Belousov has held meetings with the founder of the Wagner Group, a designated terrorist organisation, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and has been overseeing his activities, according to a report by the Dossier Center.

An anonymous source revealed to journalists that "Belousov and Prigozhin were often seen sitting closely together, addressing each other informally—'Zhenya' and such. Their work meetings resembled family gatherings over tea—casually discussing all issues, then nodding to junior staff who would formalise everything into official reports."

Information about these meetings between Belousov and his subordinates appears in Prigozhin's "personal calendar," which journalists have obtained.

The Dossier Center also reports that emails from Belousov's archived correspondence indicate that he received a report in 2018 discussing the prospects for private military companies (PMCs) in Russia. The report highlighted the growing importance of PMCs in the context of Russia's confrontations with the US and UK and the expansion of "grey zones" in international conflicts.

The same report advocates for PMCs to be "under complete state control" and identifies the Wagner Group as being overseen by the Ministry of Defence.

The archived emails also contain a document outlining Belousov's life principles. Belousov had repeatedly forwarded different versions of this document to himself. The text describes his "mission," "laws," and "commandments" by which he lives. One of the commandments followed by Russia's new defence minister is "Thou shalt not kill".

  War in Ukraine, Russia, Belousov, Prigozhin