17:51 04 Jan 2023

Wagner group experiencing problems in Bakhmut and blaming russia's defense ministry — ISW

Evgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the so-called PMC Wagner, seems to be trying to remove responsibility for the failures of the Wagners near Bakhmut and shift it to the Ministry of Defense of russia.

This is stated in the latest American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) report.

American analysts draw attention to the fact that the russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, who finances the so-called Wagner PMC, is making efforts to justify the lack of progress of this armed formation in Bakhmut, which partially confirms the ISW assessment of the depletion of russian forces around this city.

Thus, on January 3, the russian propaganda resource RIA Novosti published an interview with Prigozhin, in which he stated that the fighters of PMC Wagner could not break through the Ukrainian defenses in Bakhmut because every house in the city is a "fortress" and that Ukrainians have defensive lines every 10 meters.

"This is a significant turnaround for Prigozhin and the first time he presented Wagner's forces in Bakhmut as actually not making progress. Prigozhin had previously stated, in October 2022, that Wagner's forces operating in the Bakhmut area were advancing 100-200 meters per day. Wagner's group conducted information operations to claim that Wagner Group's forces in December succeeded in Bakhmut solely without the help of other russian elements," US analysts said.

In their opinion, Prigozhin "probably creates informational conditions in order to place the responsibility for the failure of Wagner's group in taking Bakhmut on the Ministry of Defense of russia or the state of russian industry."

Against this background, it is pointed out that the fighters of the PMC Wagner also stated that they could not break through the Ukrainian positions in Bakhmut due to an insufficient number of armored vehicles, ammunition, and 100-mm shells.

"This statement is intended to remove personal responsibility from the Wagner and Prigozhin group, linking the failure to capture Bakhmut with the broader problems of the distribution of russian resources, which russian and Ukrainian sources have been increasingly talking about since the end of December," ISW said.

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