Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, claimed on Monday that Russia is interfering in U.S. elections.
Prigozhin, who is nicknamed Putin’s Chef, made the remarks in comments on the Russian social media platform VKontakte.
“I will answer you very subtly, delicately and, I beg your pardon, I will admit a certain ambiguity,” he began.
“Gentlemen, we have interfered [in U.S. elections], we are interfering and we will continue to interfere. Carefully, accurately, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do,” Prigozhin said in comments posted by the press service of his Concord catering firm.
Earlier, a number of media outlets, in particular, Radio Liberty, referring to a Bloomberg article, reported Russian interference in the U.S. midterm elections, which are to be held on November 8.
“During our pinpoint operations, we will remove both kidneys and the liver at once,” he added, without elaborating.
Prigozhin in September admitted to founding the Wagner Group, a notorious mercenary group that is participating in Putin’s war against Ukraine. The mercenary unit has been accused by Western governments of human rights abuses in Africa and elsewhere.
A key ally of Putin, he has also been accused of sponsoring Russia-based “troll farms” such as the notorious Internet Research Agency (IRA), known for meddling in U.S. elections.
The Bloomberg article reported that social media users who are allegedly tied to Russia are trying to influence U.S. politics with the help of memes. Members of the IRA, according to the social media analysis firm Graphika Inc., are promoting racist and inflammatory rhetoric to undermine support for Democratic candidates.
The IRA is also accused of promoted misleading Kremlin rhetoric, such as the idea that Ukraine is a Nazi state and the idea that the White House is contributing to a falling standard of living in the U.S. by providing monetary assistance to Ukraine.
The U.S. State Department in July offered a $10 million reward for information on Prigozhin in connection with “engagement in U.S. election interference.”
Russia has previously denied any involvement with U.S. election interference.
Russian state-run media outlets, including the RIA Novosti news agency, said on Monday that Prigozhin made the remarks “ironically.”
Newsweek has contacted the U.S. State Department and Russia’s foreign ministry for comment.