In its report, The Wall Street Journal said Wagner plans to supply the Pantsir-S1 system
The Kremlin on Friday dismissed a Wall Street Journal report that U.S. intelligence believed Russia’s Wagner mercenary group plans to provide Hezbollah with an air defence system, saying such talk was unfounded.
“We have already said that, de facto, such a group (Wagner) does not exist,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked about the report, which cited unidentified US officials as saying that US intelligence thinks Wagner plans such a transfer.
“All of these musings are as a rule based on nothing and have no foundation,” Peskov said when asked about the report.
“There are emergency channels of communication between the (Russian and U.S.) militaries, and if there are real concerns about something, they (the Americans) can always convey them to our military.”
In its report, The Journal said Wagner plans to supply the Pantsir-S1 system, known by NATO as the SA-22, which uses anti-aircraft missiles and air-defence guns to intercept aircraft.
Wagner Group, which was funded by the Russian state and has been brought firmly under Kremlin control since an aborted mutiny by its former leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, in June, did not reply to a request for comment from Reuters.
Putin and the Kremlin have repeatedly said that there is no legal basis for Wagner under the law, which bans mercenary groups inside Russia, though in late September Putin was shown meeting one of the most senior former commanders of the group.
One unidentified U.S. official quoted by the Journal said that Washington had not confirmed that the air defence system had been sent. But U.S. officials are monitoring discussions involving Wagner and Hezbollah, the Journal said.
The Journal said that the Pantsir system would be provided to Hezbollah via Syria, where Russia propped up President Bashar al-Assad by entering the civil war there in 2015.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)