Wagner Group financier undermines Putin's authority over unreceived reward for "capturing Bakhmut"

Experts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) have suggested that the founder of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, is attacking Russian President Vladimir Putin over a promised reward for the capture of Bakhmut.

Source: ISW

Details: The review points out that Prigozhin appears to have once again indirectly undermined the authority and regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin by announcing that Russian state-owned media outlets have banned any discussion of the Wagner force.

He has said that unnamed Russian officials would only benefit from such censorship in the short term, for one to three months, before "the Russian people will push back and start hating the bureaucrats".

According to him, Russian officials would have been able to enjoy their historical ability to censor Russian society if Russia had not started the war in Ukraine.

Prigozhin then noticeably shifted the discussion from talking about unnamed Russian officials to directly addressing one person.

The ISW analysts said that Prigozhin's comments are likely aimed at Putin, who is usually portrayed by Russian state media as a leader "minutely involved with small infrastructure projects and the lives of ordinary Russian people".

The report speculates that Prigozhin may be attacking Putin because the Russian dictator did not pay him a promised reward "for seizing Bakhmut".

Analysts recall that on the night of 27-28 May, Russian troops carried out the largest attack on Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale war using Iranian-made Shahed-131/136 kamikaze drones.

According to the ISW, the fact that Russia is directing aerial munitions at Kyiv rather than T at infrastructure or military targets limits the ability of this Russian air campaign to significantly weaken Ukraine's offensive capabilities for a future counteroffensive.

Experts have noted that Prigozhin stated that the Russian operation in Bakhmut could continue until 5 June.

On 28 May, he said that the withdrawal of the Wagner troops from the city could take several more days, as the Wagner Group would not be able to hand over all the equipment in good condition by 1 June.

Experts point out that the pace of Russian operations around Bakhmut remains noticeably slow.

The ISW's preliminary assessment is that the slowdown in Russian offensive operations in the Bakhmut area likely gives Ukrainian forces in the area the initiative to launch a new round of operations around the city if they choose to do so.

To quote the ISW's Key Takeaways on 28 May:

  • Russian forces conducted the largest Shahed drone strike against Ukraine since the start of the full-scale war overnight on 27-28 May.

  • Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed that the Russian relief in place operation in Bakhmut may continue past his initial June 1 deadline and last until June 5.

  • The tempo of Russian operations around Bakhmut remains notably low.

  • Prigozhin appears to have again indirectly undermined Russian President Vladimir Putin’s authority and regime.

  • Prigozhin may be attacking Putin for failing to give Prigozhin some promised reward for seizing Bakhmut.

  • The Wagner Group held a reportedly illegal pro-Wagner rally in Yekaterinburg on 28 May despite the reported banning of the rally by Yekaterinburg authorities.

  • Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov criticized former Russian officer and ardent nationalist Igor Girkin on 27 May.

  • Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks northeast of Kupiansk and along the Svatove-Kreminna line.

  • Russian forces conducted limited offensive operations along the Avdiivka-Donetsk front.

  • Russian forces continued to fire on areas in the south of Ukraine.

  • The UK Ministry of Defense asserted that Russia is now demanding that Russian citizens make additional sacrifices to support the war effort.

  • Russian occupation officials continue to forcibly deport Ukrainian children to Russia under the guise of summer camps.

Journalists fight on their own frontline. Support Ukrainska Pravda or become our patron!