Wagner group wrestles with ‘flaws’ as rivalry leads to Russian rift: ISW
According to the latest report from the Institute for War Research (ISW), Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group does not appear to be able to survive as a military structure without the support of Russian defenses.
The US-based think tank wrote in its Friday assessment that the private mercenary organization “is increasingly proving to be a parasitic paramilitary entity,” pointing to instances where the Wagner group has reportedly misidentified deceased soldiers to their loved ones .
The ISW repeated a report by the Russian opposition news agency, TV Dozhdthat the wife of a Wagner fighter had received a sealed coffin and death certificate for her allegedly deceased husband, only to later learn he was alive and in Ukrainian custody.
“These reports suggest that Wagner lacks basic administrative organs to keep records of individual soldiers and to communicate properly with authorities,” the ISW wrote, noting that Prigozhin “ironically went to great lengths to establish the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) to criticize what he has accused of being incompetent in precisely this regard.”
Prigozhin’s fighters may also rely on the Defense Ministry for military equipment on the front lines in the war with Ukraine, ISW reported, implying that the Wagner group is acting more like a “parasite of the Russian armed forces” than a distinct organization.
An infographic published by a prominent military blogger at the Wagner Group on Friday showed a range of “military assets” Wagner soldiers are employing in the brutal struggle for the city of Bakhmut, including systems that are “typically at the military district level,” according to the ISW facility .”
These flaws in Wagner’s militia come at a time when Prigozhin has become “more and more bold” in his criticism of the Russian military, the think tank reported this week. White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a briefing on Friday that US intelligence has also found evidence that tensions between the Department of Defense and the Wagner group are escalating.
“Wagner is becoming a rival center of power for the Russian military and other Russian ministries,” Kirby said.
“Prigozhin is trying to promote his own interest in Ukraine, and Wagner makes military decisions largely based on what they will generate for Prigozhin in terms of positive publicity.”
Prigozhin, a Russian businessman, has long been considered a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his private mercenary group has played a key role in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
However, the close Kremlin ally recently had a falling out with the Defense Ministry over the battle for the eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar, after the Russian ministry claimed victory over the salt-mining town without acknowledging Wagner’s role.
The Russian ministry later followed up with a report clarifying that Soledar was “successfully achieved thanks to the brave and selfless actions of Wagner PMC unit volunteers”.
On Friday, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley also told reporters that the war in Ukraine is “becoming an absolute disaster for Russia” and Putin, citing the “massive numbers” of Russian casualties and damage to his military.
news week has reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/wagner-group-grapples-failures-rivalry-brings-russian-rift-isw-1775484 Wagner group wrestles with ‘flaws’ as rivalry leads to Russian rift: ISW