Yevgeny Prigozhin made an unprecedented call on Russians to take his side in a high-profile conflict with the defence ministry


  • Prigozhin said Russia should instead focus on strengthening its UAV technology
  • Prigozhin also dismissed the drone strike as possibly being a lightning strike
  • Russia is now claiming the drone strikes were ordered by the United States

A close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday denounced calls to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine after the Kremlin was allegedly attacked by drones it claimed were sent by Kyiv.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of Russia's infamous Wagner Group and dubbed as "Putin's chef," said Moscow's threats of using nuclear weapons in response to attacks by a "children's drone" make Russia "look like clowns."

"As a radical person, I can say that the use of nuclear weapons in response to a drone, of course, is out of the question," Prigozhin said in a statement published by the Wagner Group's press service (via Google Translate).

"First of all, it is necessary to figure out how this could happen in principle, and after that, make every effort to ensure that we become the leading power in the development of UAV technologies and respond with exactly the same drones. And so we look like clowns who threaten a 'vigorous bomb' on a children's drone," he added.

Aside from denouncing the use of nuclear weapons, Prigozhin also shrugged off news of an alleged assassination attempt on Putin, saying the drones could have been a "lighting" strike. He went on to say that he is focusing more on getting ammunition to his troops to continue fighting in the embattled Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast.

"I can't comment on this phenomenon in any way. Maybe it was lightning. The main thing for me is to get shells in order to advance in Bakhmut. And secondly, so that the military flanks do not screw up," he said on his Telegram account.

His statement comes after two high-level Russian officials, including chairman of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin, urged the Kremlin to use nuclear weapons on Ukraine for allegedly sending two drones to target Putin's residence in the Kremlin on Wednesday.

The calls were also echoed by Russia's former space chief Dmitry Rogozin, who also said Moscow could avoid suffering from significant losses in Ukraine's anticipated counteroffensive if it launches preemptive tactical nuclear weapons against Kyiv.

A Russian investigation into the drone strike is currently underway. Moscow initially blamed the strike on Ukraine before backpedaling and claiming it was ordered by the United States. Both Ukraine and the U.S. have dismissed the Kremlin's accusations.

Russian drone strike in Kyiv