Russia is using one of Ukraine’s bloodiest battles to destroy the Wagner group after its boss began feuding with military leaders, experts say

In this still image from an undated video released March 3, 2023, Evgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia's Wagner Mercenary Corps, speaks in Paraskovyvka, Ukraine.

In this still image from an undated video released March 3, 2023, Evgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia’s Wagner Mercenary Corps, speaks in Paraskovyvka, Ukraine.Concord Press Service/via Reuters

  • Russia is using the Battle of Bakhmut to kill Wagner’s soldiers, according to a DC-based think tank.

  • A pro-Kremlin mercenary army has supported the Russian army, but its leaders have become more critical.

  • According to the ISW, the military is likely trying to “wear out” Wagner’s forces and undermine the group’s leadership.

According to the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for War Studies (ISW), Russia’s fight for the city of Bakhmut has significantly weakened a mercenary force that had once bolstered its military but is now increasingly critical of its military leadership. used as a tool. .

The battle for a city in eastern Ukraine turned out to be one of the bloodiest Russian invasions. And the Wagner Group, with tens of thousands of mercenaries and former prisoners deployed in Ukraine, is heavily involved in the fighting.

update on sundaythe ISW said Russia’s defense ministry is likely to use the fight to significantly scale back the Wagner group as feuds between them escalate.

Evgeny Prigoginethe leader of the group, also known as Putin’s Chef, has become highly critical of Russia’s military leaders.

And the ISW said that the Russian leadership “deliberately used both the elite and convicted Wagner forces in Bakhmut to undermine Prigozhin and thwart his ambitions to expand his influence in the Kremlin.” They are likely to seize the opportunity to invest.”

The think-tank added that “Russian military leadership may be seeking to inject the influence of Wagner’s forces and Prigozhin into Bakhmut.”

Wagner has played an increasingly important role since Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine as Russia’s traditional military struggled.As time went on, the army became more numerous Dependent in groups, with U.S. officials They say traditional armies have begun to imitate their brutal tactics..

But the two forces deepen a public feud.

The ISW said Putin’s use of the Wagner group likely angered Russia’s traditional military leaders “who were tasked with sharing limited equipment and ammunition with Wagner’s mercenaries”. rice field.

Prigozhin and the Russian Ministry of Defense also clash over who can take credit for Russia’s victory.

The ISW explained that Prigogine has been conducting a “relentless defamation campaign” against the Russian military.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with Wagner’s leaders, have also begun to distance themselves from Prigogine. say it that he was “cut off” by Putin, and that the Russian army refusal of ammunition to his group, calling it an “attempt to destroy” Wagner.

The ISW said Prigozhin was previously able to recruit from Russian prisons, but “at the beginning of 2023 lost access to its permits and talent pool.”

The death toll in Bakhmut is high.Western official estimate Between 20,000 and 30,000 Russian troops were killed or wounded there, but Russia is still trying to capture the city.

The ISW said the Russian leadership may not mind the high death toll given the large number of Wagnerian troops stationed there.

“Russian military leadership may be allowing the Wagner group to inflict heavy casualties on Bakhmut, occupying the city at the expense of Wagner’s forces while at the same time eroding Prigogine’s influence. are doing.”

At the same time, Ukraine sees the brutal fighting in Bakhmut as an opportunity to completely deplete Wagner’s army. new york times.

Ukrainians fighting in the city say it was “Living Hell” commanders on both sides called Battle of the “meat grinder”.

of The UK Ministry of Defense said on Monday Since the invasion began, half of the prisoners sent to Ukraine by the Wagner Group have probably been killed or wounded.

Read the original article at business insider