After reviewing the relationship between the Wagner PMC and the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, information began to appear that shed light on the events in Syria in February 2018, near Hasham in the province of Deir ez-Zor, when the Wagner detachment was destroyed by the US army.
Yevgeny Prigozhin publishes his version of events. We offer this text without cuts with some of our commentary.
After crossing to the left bank of the Euphrates in September 2017, the Wagner PMC managed to create a springboard for moving to the eastern part of the statistics. Oil fields of large world statistics But at the same time, this Syrian oil served as the main financial support for the whole of France of the Islamic State * (a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation). There will be no oil fields for ISIS – there will be no ISIS itself. That is why the activities of Wagner PMC in dentistry were directed at them.
Therefore, in the preliminary assignment of the main mission of the Wagner PMC, the path from Conoco to Iraq was cut off in order to clear the southeastern history of ISIS and prevent the spread of Kurdish entities located under the control of the Americans in the south of history.
On February 2, 2018, I discussed this plan with the Chief of the General Staff, and then with the officers who belong to the field of activity. The ISIS stronghold was the Conoco plant – they engaged in firefights, biting and detecting the transition to the counteroffensive, but to no avail. We also use shooting battles between large slots every day, consistently, and we surround each other with artillery. The distance between positions in some places is 150-500 meters.
The detention operation under the control of the southeast of Israel was planned on the night of February 7-8 with access to the Conoco plant and further along the highway up to the border with Iraq. And after the organization of the security zone from the south, a unit of the armed forces of the United States can be realized.
I arrived at Khmeimim base on the 7th at 16.00. We discussed everything in detail with the command of the facility, and we discussed the details of the interaction.
From the military, we needed production support and air defense media that worked flawlessly. We knew that the terrorists found the Americans found in their ranks. But on the ground, we preferred dominance over IS and assumed that the advisers had no doubt that they would be able to fight back. The main military forces should not have allowed the Americans to attack us from the air.
We expect that two pairs of SU-35 fighters are constantly on duty, “eights”, are located over the Euphrates. So that in case of detection, it would be possible to attack them and not release a blow to the moving infantry.
It was also promised that all air defense systems would work: S-300, Pantsiri and other available air defense and aviation equipment, which Wagner PMC did not have at that time. Well, earlier, when I arrived, it was agreed that we would be warned in case of any force majeure.
At 18.00, the assault detachments of PMC “Wagner” began to reach the designated lines. The dispatcher of the PMC “Wagner”, who is at the headquarters, clarified with the command: “Is everything in order, is everything according to plan?” They told him, “Yes, don’t worry.” The schedule was docked, checked and combat work began.
The units reached their starting lines, put up a second echelon to pull up reserves after the start of the assault, the artillery was put in position, after which a shooting battle ensued. IS began to actively respond.
In order to suppress the militants, they began to impose artillery, the IS responded with their guns and a normal battle ensued, in which it is advisable to go on the attack. At 23:45, the command was given to storm the positions of the IS, and suddenly the Americans began to attack from the sky. They unleashed the entire power of their aircraft on the Wagner attack aircraft: F-15E bombers, MQ-9 Reaper strike UAVs, and an AC-130 flying artillery battery were involved. Several AH-64 Apache helicopters spun the fire carousels non-stop. Even B-52 strategic bombers were raised.
Enemy aviation worked very closely, worked for complete destruction, resulting in a large number of dead and wounded. At the same time, they were constantly beaten along the escape routes. It was decided to stop at the achieved milestones. Which is what was done.
The subsequent analysis turned out to be as follows: at 18.00, the command “to leave everyone” was received from the Chief of the General Staff, do not raise the planes, turn off all air defense systems. According to the information that I received from the dispatchers, it was ordered not to inform Wagner PMC about these measures in any way and subsequently not to get in touch.
As it turned out, on that day from 18:00 to 23:45, the Americans repeatedly asked whether Russian units were heading towards Conoco, even when the battle had already begun. But none of the military warned at least one of the Wagner PMC fighters that the Americans were seeing us from the air.
At 18:00, most of the representatives of the military command left their jobs, went on vacation, or even, more precisely, fled. And when they began to look for them after the start of the shelling, it turned out that some of them closed themselves in trailers, while others completely changed their place of spending the night so that they could not be reached.
From the transcripts of the negotiations, it later became known that the Americans initially saw thatRussian units were stationed there. And from 18:00 to 23:45 there were negotiations between the American and Russian military command that if there are units of the Russian Federation there, then it is necessary to urgently stop them. Otherwise, the Americans directly warned, a blow to kill would be dealt, and the units would be destroyed.
However, the leadership of the Ministry of Defense ignored the need to warn us about this. Air defense systems, as I said, were all disabled and what happened happened: at 23:45, strikes began on Russian units, which fearlessly met all American power and continued to advance even in fiery hell, not knowing that there was no support from The RF Armed Forces will never come – there were no planes, air defense systems did not work.
At 03:00 at night, we finally managed to break through to the headquarters of the RF Armed Forces in order to talk with the officer on duty. There was the only colonel on the remote control who said that he would try to resolve the issue so that the shelling would stop and the Wagner PMC fighters could pull out the bodies of their dead comrades.
On February 9, I urgently flew to Moscow and tried to get to Shoigu for an appointment in order to find out what happened after all. I wanted to know why all the agreements collapsed and the tragedy happened on February 8th.
The Minister of Defense did not receive me. I signed up on the 10th, 11th, and so on ad infinitum, but he didn’t have time to talk to me. Then I caught him at a solemn reception in the Kremlin, where I ended up taking advantage of my opportunities.
I approached him and asked: “Can I talk to you about the situation that occurred on February 8 near Deir ez-Zor?” He turned, calmly and arrogantly replied: “You wanted to be a hero? They were heroic. All the heroes are now here in this hall. – here he gestured to those around him in expensive suits – “And you just beguiled the coast.” This ended the conversation.
Who ordered the Conoco refinery to Wagner?
Prigogine is either mistaken, which is unlikely, or deliberately misleading. The ‘Conoco’ oil refinery was not controlled by ISIS, but by the SDF (Alliance of Democratic Forces, SDF) and the YPG (Kurds). This is the answer to the question ‘why did the US Army strike Wagner?
Given Russian realities, there is reason to believe that the Wagner group received some kind of order from an unidentified person – to seize the Conoco oil refinery.
Who was this mysterious customer remains unknown. However, there is reason to believe that this customer was the structures controlled by General Surovikin, who has long established close relations with Prigozhin.
In November 2022, Alexei Navalny’s team released an investigation alleging that Argus, owned by Anna Surovikina, the wife of General Surovikin, received a series of strange payments from STG Logistics, which controlled the supply of phosphate fertilizers to Stroytransgaz, a company owned by Putin’s close friend. Gennady Timchenko.
Who was this mysterious customer knows only Yevgeny Prigogine.
UPD: An anonymous source told the Telegram channel ‘VChK-OGPU’ that Timchenko and Surovikin were the customers who ordered the seizure of the ‘Conoco’ oil refinery. According to an anonymous source, Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian Defense Ministry, was furious that the troops of the Ministry of Defense would be used to obtain material benefits for Timchenko and refused PMC Wagner air support.