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Thursday, March 23, 2023

While the Wagner mercenaries are trying to take Bakhmut, their leader was in a difficult situation, media

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Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner PKK, made a bet that his mercenaries would raise the Russian flag in the city of Bakhmut, although this cost considerable losses for his unit and, probably, for his own fortune, writes edition.cnn.com.

He spent heavily recruiting 40,000 prisoners, but after months of hard fighting and staggering losses, he is now trying to fill the ranks of Wagner, while accusing the Russian Ministry of Defense of trying to stifle his forces. Many analysts believe that Prigozhin’s suspicions are not unfounded – the Russian military establishment is using the Bakhmut meat grinder to reduce its numbers or even eliminate it as a political force.

The other day, Prigozhin admitted that the battle in Bakhmut was “Heavy, very heavy, the enemy fought for every meter.” In another video message, he said: “We need the military to cover up the intrigues (in Bakhmut). If they manage to do this, everything will be fine. If not, then the Wagner will be surrounded along with the Ukrainians inside Bakhmut.”

Just when Prigozhin needed more support from regular Russian troops and a reliable supply of ammunition, neither seemed to be available. As the newspaper writes, “Wagner” is not able to muster enough forces to oust the Ukrainian troops from Bakhmut. And his fighters are scattered, advancing northwest and southwest outside the city.

According to the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Defense Secretary Sergei Shoigu “Most likely, he will take the opportunity to deliberately spend both elite and Wagner convict units in Bakhmut in order to weaken Prigozhin and undermine his ambitions for greater influence in the Kremlin.” For several weeks, Prigozhin and his commanders complained about the lack of supplies of ammunition just when they were trying to surround and take Bakhmut.

“The Russian Ministry of Defense increasingly restricted Prigozhin’s ability to recruit convicts and supply ammunition, forcing him to publicly acknowledge his dependence on the ministry,” ISW notes.

Prigozhin’s accusation also helps the Department of Defense to distract from its own setbacks, especially around Ugledar in the south, where regular troops have suffered heavy casualties.

Many analysts believed that Shoigu was behind the sudden announcement in February that Wagner was halting prisoner recruitment. Now the head of the private army looks isolated. He was forced to throw his best fighters into the battle for Bakhmut. ISW suggest that the Russian Ministry of Defense used the “Wagner” “in order to bear the brunt of the high-intensity, grueling urban fighting to capture Bakhmut in order to preserve Russian conventional forces.”

If the Wagner PVK is destroyed during the unsuccessful attempt to take Bakhmut, Prigogine could find himself in a very difficult situation.

Kremlin columnist Mark Galeotti writes in The Spectator: “Putin is happy to give the political entrepreneurs circling his court a certain amount of autonomy if they promise results, but he just as easily dismisses them if they don’t get the job done.” And Prigozhin made a bet on Bakhmut.

Recall that recently a Wagnerian in the uniform of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was caught near Bakhmut.

Author: Victoria MIKITYUK

Source: Fakty

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