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Military Briefing: Will Wagner’s Rebellion Affect the Ukraine War?

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Warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin’s aborted uprising saves Russia from civil war, regime change and possible collapse of the war effort – the 1917 revolution envisioned by President Vladimir Putin on Saturday morning Scenario.

But domestic drama in Russia still holds benefits and potential advantages for Ukraine as it seeks to drive Russian forces out of the south and east of the country.

“The morale of the Ukrainian army is very high and we are watching the situation in Russia with popcorn,” Vitaly Markiv, a frontline officer with the Ukrainian National Guard, told the Financial Times on Saturday.

Prigozhin’s menacing uprising comes at just the right time for Kiev, which has made only a few territorial gains since the counteroffensive began earlier this month. The battlefield disappointment has raised concerns about the ability of Ukrainian forces to break through heavily fortified Russian positions.

Prigozhin’s uprising exposed Putin’s vulnerability and put a spotlight on his potential schism and infidelity with the Russian military apparatus.

Ukrainian officials said Russia’s power struggle did not bring dramatic changes to the front lines, but created opportunities to take advantage of enemy distractions and demoralization.

A Rostov resident taking a selfie with Evgeny Prigozhin © AP

“Of course, we will make the most of this,” said Andriy Chernyak, an official with the General Directorate of Military Intelligence of Ukraine. “We will use it to our advantage in the political, intelligence and military fields.”

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hannah Marial said on Saturday that the Kiev army “launched attacks in several directions at the same time.” “We are seeing progress in all directions.”

There were also unconfirmed reports that Ukrainian troops crossed the Antonivsky Bridge near Kherson in southern Ukraine and entered Russian-occupied territory on the left bank of the Dnipro.

A senior EU official said Russia’s conflict was “the best counterattack we could all hope for.” Ukraine, on the other hand, could appreciate Russia’s broken morale and use it to its advantage. ”

If Prigozhin had continued the rebellion, the Kremlin might have been forced to withdraw some of its elite units from the Ukrainian front to face Wagner’s battle-hardened fighters. I don’t need that anymore. Prigozhin is in exile in Belarus and his army is back in base.

But it is unclear what will happen to Wagner. Wagner officers who did not participate in the mutiny will be offered regular military contracts. However, many others who rebelled were banned and may remain loyal to Prigogine. Putin may feel the need to bring more troops closer to the country if Wagner and other militias are still seen as a potential threat.

Wagner’s dissolution would deprive Russia of the most effective military force in Ukraine. Wagner fighter jets have carried out much of the heavy fighting in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, the only significant Russian territory gain since July.

Former Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk said, “Wagner was the only successful element of the one-year invasion of Russia.” “And their successes were very limited, concentrated in one small city, and their tactics barbaric even to Wagnerians. But they achieved at least something. couldn’t do that.”

Mr. Wagner’s death and Mr. Prigozhin’s defection to Belarus will also dampen criticism of the Russian military’s corruption, incompetence and bureaucracy, reducing pressure on military officials to address their biggest weaknesses, Zagorodnyuk said.

“Therefore, there is little chance that Russia’s military regime will change.”

Wagner’s army withdraws from Rostov © REUTERS

Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the US-based Foreign Policy Institute, doubted that the withdrawal of Prigogine forces would have a major impact. The unit has already been withdrawn from the Ukraine campaign and has become a strike force when Russian forces are currently in defensive mode and performing relatively well. But Moscow may use Wagner’s treason to explain future losses.

“We are still waiting for Ukraine to start throwing in its reserves, which may come this week. If the Russian military loses territory this week, they will almost certainly blame Wagner’s actions, Blaming Wagner may be a somewhat effective slogan.”

Nonetheless, it is said that Prigozhin overran the Rostov-on-Don headquarters without apparent resistance from Russian forces, or that his army advanced several hundred kilometers towards Moscow unhindered in just one day. The facts will also raise questions about the cohesion of the Russian army and the cohesion of the Russian army. The loyalty of some of the military.

“This is an army of militias, and it’s becoming more and more obvious,” said Omar Ashur, professor of military studies at the Doha Institute. “It makes the unity of command very difficult.”

A man holds a Russian flag in front of a Wagner military vehicle © AFP via Getty Images

Finally, this weekend’s turmoil could undermine Russia’s support for the war, both on the front and among civilians. Mr. Prigozhin, who has great influence through his Telegram channel, has treasoned two of Putin’s stories.

On Friday, he argued that Russia started the war based on lies, and squarely challenged Putin’s legitimacy to justify the aggression as a mission to protect Russian-speaking people. And on Saturday, he showed that Putin’s grip on power is more fragile than anyone thought.

“The big result is that even if the coup does not succeed, there is no longer an image of a stable regime,” said Maria Zorkina of the Foundation for Democratic Initiatives, a think tank in Kiev. “The state’s confused reaction shows the real weakness of the authoritarian regime. Putin has become a hostage to his own game,” she said.

Additional reporting by Henry Foy of Brussels and Roman Olearchik of Kiev

Summarize this content to 100 words Receive Free Updates on Ukraine Military BriefingsI will send myFT Daily Digest E-mail summarizing the latest information Ukraine military press conference News every morning.Warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin’s aborted uprising saves Russia from civil war, regime change and possible collapse of the war effort – the 1917 revolution envisioned by President Vladimir Putin on Saturday morning Scenario. But domestic drama in Russia still holds benefits and potential advantages for Ukraine as it seeks to drive Russian forces out of the south and east of the country.“The morale of the Ukrainian army is very high and we are watching the situation in Russia with popcorn,” Vitaly Markiv, a frontline officer with the Ukrainian National Guard, told the Financial Times on Saturday.Prigozhin’s menacing uprising comes at just the right time for Kiev, which has made only a few territorial gains since the counteroffensive began earlier this month. The battlefield disappointment has raised concerns about the ability of Ukrainian forces to break through heavily fortified Russian positions. Prigozhin’s uprising exposed Putin’s vulnerability and put a spotlight on his potential schism and infidelity with the Russian military apparatus.Ukrainian officials said Russia’s power struggle did not bring dramatic changes to the front lines, but created opportunities to take advantage of enemy distractions and demoralization.

A Rostov resident taking a selfie with Evgeny Prigozhin © AP

“Of course, we will make the most of this,” said Andriy Chernyak, an official with the General Directorate of Military Intelligence of Ukraine. “We will use it to our advantage in the political, intelligence and military fields.” Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hannah Marial said on Saturday that the Kiev army “launched attacks in several directions at the same time.” “We are seeing progress in all directions.” There were also unconfirmed reports that Ukrainian troops crossed the Antonivsky Bridge near Kherson in southern Ukraine and entered Russian-occupied territory on the left bank of the Dnipro.A senior EU official said Russia’s conflict was “the best counterattack we could all hope for.” Ukraine, on the other hand, could appreciate Russia’s broken morale and use it to its advantage. ”

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If Prigozhin had continued the rebellion, the Kremlin might have been forced to withdraw some of its elite units from the Ukrainian front to face Wagner’s battle-hardened fighters. I don’t need that anymore. Prigozhin is in exile in Belarus and his army is back in base. But it is unclear what will happen to Wagner. Wagner officers who did not participate in the mutiny will be offered regular military contracts. However, many others who rebelled were banned and may remain loyal to Prigogine. Putin may feel the need to bring more troops closer to the country if Wagner and other militias are still seen as a potential threat. Wagner’s dissolution would deprive Russia of the most effective military force in Ukraine. Wagner fighter jets have carried out much of the heavy fighting in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, the only significant Russian territory gain since July.Former Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk said, “Wagner was the only successful element of the one-year invasion of Russia.” “And their successes were very limited, concentrated in one small city, and their tactics barbaric even to Wagnerians. But they achieved at least something. couldn’t do that.”Mr. Wagner’s death and Mr. Prigozhin’s defection to Belarus will also dampen criticism of the Russian military’s corruption, incompetence and bureaucracy, reducing pressure on military officials to address their biggest weaknesses, Zagorodnyuk said.”Therefore, there is little chance that Russia’s military regime will change.”

Wagner’s army withdraws from Rostov © REUTERS

Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the US-based Foreign Policy Institute, doubted that the withdrawal of Prigogine forces would have a major impact. The unit has already been withdrawn from the Ukraine campaign and has become a strike force when Russian forces are currently in defensive mode and performing relatively well. But Moscow may use Wagner’s treason to explain future losses. “We are still waiting for Ukraine to start throwing in its reserves, which may come this week. If the Russian military loses territory this week, they will almost certainly blame Wagner’s actions, Blaming Wagner may be a somewhat effective slogan.”Nonetheless, it is said that Prigozhin overran the Rostov-on-Don headquarters without apparent resistance from Russian forces, or that his army advanced several hundred kilometers towards Moscow unhindered in just one day. The facts will also raise questions about the cohesion of the Russian army and the cohesion of the Russian army. The loyalty of some of the military.”This is an army of militias, and it’s becoming more and more obvious,” said Omar Ashur, professor of military studies at the Doha Institute. “It makes the unity of command very difficult.”

A man holds a Russian flag in front of a Wagner military vehicle © AFP via Getty Images

Finally, this weekend’s turmoil could undermine Russia’s support for the war, both on the front and among civilians. Mr. Prigozhin, who has great influence through his Telegram channel, has treasoned two of Putin’s stories. On Friday, he argued that Russia started the war based on lies, and squarely challenged Putin’s legitimacy to justify the aggression as a mission to protect Russian-speaking people. And on Saturday, he showed that Putin’s grip on power is more fragile than anyone thought.”The big result is that even if the coup does not succeed, there is no longer an image of a stable regime,” said Maria Zorkina of the Foundation for Democratic Initiatives, a think tank in Kiev. “The state’s confused reaction shows the real weakness of the authoritarian regime. Putin has become a hostage to his own game,” she said.Additional reporting by Henry Foy of Brussels and Roman Olearchik of Kiev
https://www.ft.com/content/3526c430-9317-4a8a-81de-f3179c75c180 Military Briefing: Will Wagner’s Rebellion Affect the Ukraine War?

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