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Russia, the revolt of the Wagnerians. Analyzes of British intelligence and ISW

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British intelligence in its daily update called the Wagnerian rebellion “the greatest challenge for the Russian state in recent times” and indicated that “the loyalty of the Russian security forces will be crucial to the course of the crisis.” Analysts from the American Institute of Internal Affairs assessed that “the current actions will probably determine the ‘to be or not to be’ of the head of the Wagnerians”.

On Friday, the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said that troops of the regular Russian army had attacked the Wagner camp, resulting in numerous deaths. He announced that he intended to “restore justice” in the armed forces and called for no opposition to him.

Read also: The Wagnerian revolt. Live coverage on tvn24.pl

On Saturday morning, the leader of the mercenaries announced that he was at the headquarters of the Southern Military District in Rostov-on-Don, waiting for the arrival of the defense minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov. He threatened that otherwise the Wagnerians will “go to Moscow”.

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British intelligence: the biggest challenge for the Russian state in recent times

In the daily update of British intelligence, it was reported that the dispute between the Wagner Group and the Russian Ministry of Defense had escalated into an open military confrontation. In an operation described by Prigozhin as a “freedom march”, the forces of the Wagner Group crossed the occupied border Ukraine with Russia in at least two places.

It added that in Rostov-on-Don, the Wagner Group has almost certainly seized key security facilities, including the headquarters that direct Russian military operations in Ukraine, and more Wagner units are moving north through Voronezh Oblast, almost certainly to reach Moscow . As noted, there is very little evidence of fighting between the Wagnerians and the Russian security forces, some of which probably remained passive, giving way to the Wagnerians.

“In the coming hours, the loyalty of the Russian security forces, and especially the Russian National Guard, will be of key importance for the course of the crisis. This is the greatest challenge for the Russian state in recent times,” it said.

ISW about the Wagnerian rebellion

According to analysts from the American Institute for the Study of War, the sudden activation of the Russian security forces and the Kremlin’s reaction to the actions of the owner of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, prove that the authorities Russia they were probably not aware of them and are against them.

The Institute believes that Prigozhin intends to remove the leadership of the Ministry of Defense from power by force, and he is most likely referring to the command of the Southern Military District in Rostov-on-Don, but possibly also to the command in Moscow.

The ISW emphasized that an armed attack by the Wagner Group on the Russian military leadership in Rostov-on-Don would have a significant impact on the military operations in Ukraine, because it is in Rostov that not only the general staff of the Southern Military District is located, whose 58th army plays a key role in the defense activities of the aggressor against the Ukrainian counter-offensive, but also the command center of the entire grouping of the Russian invasion forces.

ISW: to be or not to be Prigozhin

In the Institute’s opinion, Prigozhin’s likely launch of an armed rebellion is the culmination of his efforts to maintain control over his armed forces, and the current actions will probably determine the “to be or not to be” of the head of the Wagnerians. The Institute of Internal Affairs pointed out that Prigozhin had long been crossing the “red line” of acceptable criticism of the Russian authorities in the media space. As noted, he probably thought that the fact that the Wagner Group was needed by the Kremlin in Ukraine would protect him from punishment.

It is possible that Prigozhin miscalculated and called for an armed rebellion, wrongly assuming that Putin would back down, given his once tense relationship with the Ministry of Defense and Shoigu. However, such an eventuality is extremely unlikely, as Putin has recently aligned himself more strongly with the Ministry defense, and the Kremlin’s reaction to Prigozhin’s fanfare so far indicates surprise and opposition to him.

The Institute assessed that it is also possible that Prigozhin’s actions are an attempt to “outbid” the Ministry of Defense in the media space. However, according to ISW, this is also very unlikely, because preliminary reports show that the Kremlin does not treat Prigozhin’s actions only as rhetoric.

In the opinion of the Institute of Internal Affairs, it cannot be ruled out that Prigozhin, while criticizing the Kremlin’s justification for the war against Ukraine, does not reject the legitimacy of the invasion itself. The head of the mercenaries emphasized in earlier statements that this is a “holy war against those who have offended the Russian nation.”

Main photo source: Reuters

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