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Ukraine, Avdiivka. ISW: Wagner’s group deployed experienced mercenaries

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The Institute for War Studies in its latest report reports that the Russian command probably reinforced the attacking forces near Avdiivka in the Donetsk region with troops of experienced mercenaries from the Wagner Group. “While this formation mainly uses forces composed of former prisoners in operations near Bakhmut, more trained mercenaries are probably fighting in various regions in Ukraine,” the think tank said.

“The Russian command may have decided in recent weeks to direct some elements of this formation to Avdiivka to reinforce the weakened and untrained forces of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic trying to take the town. If such fighters are fighting at Avdiivka, their involvement may explain the limited tactical gains in over the past week,” states the ISW.

The use of experienced mercenaries is indirectly indicated by the statements of the Ukrainian side, as well as e.g. obituary of one of the fighters of this formation (he died on March 20) published on a Russian social networking site.

“A Series of Disastrous Offensive Operations”

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ISW also notes reports – unconfirmed so far – about the dismissal of General Rustam Muradov from the post of commander of the Russian Eastern Group of Forces. In October last year, Muradov took command of the Eastern Military District and was responsible for “a series of disastrous offensive operations” in the west of the Donetsk region Ukraine.

The Institute of Internal Affairs points out that it cannot confirm these rumors, as well as reports about the planned resignation of General Yevgeny Nikiforov, responsible for the actions of Russian forces on the border of Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts (Kupyansk-Svatowe-Kreminna line).

Lieutenant General Rustam Muradovmil.ru, CC BY 4.0

ISW: Putin’s announcement is a message to the West

ISW also analyzes the “reserved reactions” of the Russian military blogosphere to the announcement Vladimir Putinregarding placing elements of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.

READ MORE: Putin ‘plays a game’ with the West. Pełczyńska-Nałęcz: threatens when it encounters resistance

According to the centre, it proves that these activities are aimed primarily at the West, and to a lesser extent at internal recipients in Poland Russia.

Main photo source: YURI KOCHETKOV/EPA/PAP

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