Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin said there are currently no Serbian nationals among the Wagner PMC fighters in Ukraine, after "the last one" left the area two months ago. The comments come after Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić accused Wagner of trying to recruit Serbs to fight in Ukraine, APA reports citing CNN.
"Vučić is throwing this tantrum over nothing. There are no Serbs in Wagner PMC to date (as of March 1, 2023)," Prigozhin said in a comment posted on his public Telegram channel.
"The last one who fought in the Wagner PMC left the area two months ago. If any Serb claims he fought in the Wagner PMC in 2023, it is a lie. Do not believe him," he said.
The remarks come after POLITICO published an article featuring comments from Vučić, who was quoted saying that Serbs who have been recruited to fight in Ukraine “are going to be arrested when they come back to Serbia."
"You don’t recruit like that in a friendly country," the Serbian president told POLITICO.
Vučić has openly accused Wagner of trying to recruit Serbian fighters for its ranks. His comments echo similar remarks published in Serbian media, according to CNN affiliate N1. The private Russian military company has advertised for personnel on Russia Today’s Serbian-language portal, according to N1.
Vučić has sought to balance Serbia's cultural and religious ties with Russia, with ambitions to join the European Union and NATO.