Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia's mercenary outfit, claims an ex-general of US Marine Corps is commanding its British battalion, also consisting of some 20 Finnish fighters.

For years, the Wagner group has been suspected of playing a role in realising the Kremlin's overseas ambitions, including in Ukraine.
For years, the Wagner group has been suspected of playing a role in realising the Kremlin's overseas ambitions, including in Ukraine. (Reuters Archive)

The head of the Russian mercenary outfit Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has said that a former US Marine general was working for the group.

In response to a request for comment from Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Prigozhin said on Friday: "There are not very many Finnish citizens in the Wagner PMC, about 20 people. But for obvious reasons, I cannot give exact information about them".

"I have a very good opinion about the Finns on the battlefield. They are fighting in a British battalion (as part of Wagner PMC), which is commanded by a US citizen, a former general of the Marine Corps," Prigozhin said as quoted by the press service of his company Concord.

READ MORE: US accuses Russia of exploiting Africa 'to fund' Ukraine conflict

Realising Kremlin's overseas ambitions

Prigozhin, dubbed "Putin's chef" because of his Kremlin catering contracts, has been hit with EU and US sanctions.

In September, he disclosed for the first time that he founded the Wagner group in 2014 to fight in Ukraine and acknowledged its presence in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

For years, the Wagner group has been suspected of playing a role in realising the Kremlin's overseas ambitions, including in Ukraine, where Wagner fighters have been at the forefront of Moscow's February offensive.

This month Wagner opened a headquarters in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg.

READ MORE: UK: Russia puts Wagner fighters on frontline duty in eastern Ukraine

Source: AFP