“Putin’s cook” calls for “legal protection” for Wagner mercenaries fighting in Ukraine

(CNN) — The head of Russia’s private military Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, better known as President Vladimir Putin’s chef, on Tuesday appealed to Russia’s State Duma (lower house) to provide legal protection for volunteers and prisoners fighting as mercenaries for the Wagner Group in Ukraine.

Prigozhin said, in a letter to Vyacheslav Volodin, the head of the Duma, published by Yevgeny Prigozhin’s “Concorde” company: “There are media looking for negative information about volunteers, including former prisoners, and publishing such materials that depict defenders of Russia, people who renounce about their lives for us, in a bad light, portraying them as villains and criminals.”

He added: “It is necessary to ban publications of a negative nature and any criticism of the participants in the special military operation in Ukraine, as well as information about their past crimes.”

And he continued: “I ask you to take measures about introducing an article on defaming the reputation of participants in hostilities, volunteers, including former convicts in accordance with criminal law.”

He said that Wagner fighters “courageously and honorably fulfill their duty to the motherland, effectively complete military tasks, ensure state safety and suffer losses in combat.”

He stated that “the media and bloggers who openly slander volunteers must be suppressed, in order to strengthen our society in the face of external threats from Russia.”

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