Russia Quells Wagner Group Mutiny – Ukrainian Offensive Still Stalled

Could Ukraine be planning a “false flag” attack on Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to justify NATO escalation and direct participation
Could Ukraine be planning a “false flag” attack on Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to justify NATO escalation and direct participation? | Photo:

By David Sole

News outlets around the world focused on a short lived mutiny inside Russia by the “private” Wagner military group while the bigger story is that Ukraine’s much touted offensive is stalled in its fourth week.

On June 23 units of the private Wagner military group in Russia left their bases and entered the southern Russian city Rostov-on-Don where they reportedly took control of a military headquarters. Several thousand Wagner soldiers then began to advance toward Moscow.

The Wagner group is headed by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a volatile individual as shown in recent months by his public outbursts. The Russian government created, armed and funded this “private military organization” as a way to unofficially send troops to other countries around the world who sought Russian military support. This technicality made it possible to send troops without an official act of the Russian parliament.

Since the beginning of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine which started on February 24, 2022, the Wagner group played the major role in the months long battle to take control of the city of Bakhmut. After intense house-to-house fighting the Wagner group, supported by units of the regular Russian military, finally drove out the Ukrainians from this heavily fortified position this past May.

As in any war disagreements and disputes can arise among commanders. Scarce resources have to be allocated to the various fronts. Inevitably mistakes can and will be made. It is expected that these disagreements will be kept internal and follow the chain of command. Prigozhin, however, repeatedly went public with his complaints and criticisms while his units were fighting in Bakhmut.

Wagner group forces were withdrawn to bases in Russia for R and R (rest and relaxation). Prigozhin, for unknown reasons, called upon them to mutiny, perhaps to force the removal of top military commanders with whom he has had a long-standing hostility. Somewhere between 4,000 and 8,000 Wagner soldiers responded out of some 32,000.

Russian President Putin quickly went public with a speech condemning the mutiny. The convoy toward Moscow soon came to a halt. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko  played a role in negotiating an end to the crisis. The next day it was announced that no reprisals against the Wagner troops would take place. The Wagner soldiers would be given the option of enlisting in Russian military or security agencies, going back to civilian life or following Prigozhin into exile in Belarus.

The mutiny had no apparent effect on the Russian forces fighting in Ukraine. The western media and analysts were sorely disappointed when it became clear that the event ended quickly and without much bloodshed.

The mutiny did divert attention away from the poor showing by the Ukrainian armed forces in the offensive that began on June 4. Now in its fourth week the Ukrainians have been stalled all across the hundreds of miles of the line of contact. The New York Times had been giving weeks of coverage to Ukraine’s “counteroffensive.” On June 26 the Times changed its tone with the headline “Minefields and Menace: Why Ukraine’s Pushback Is Off to a Halting Start.”

Losses in troops and heavy equipment by Ukraine are heavy over the past three and a half weeks. It should be remembered that Ukraine put together a new army for this offensive estimated at up to 50,000 soldiers trained by the U.S. and NATO along with hundreds of tanks and many more armored fighting vehicles. So it is still possible for Ukraine to throw those reserve forces into the battle.

In fact it ought to be expected that Ukraine will launch a desperate assault hoping for significant gains, no matter how unlikely to succeed. NATO has a summit coming up on July 11-12 in Vilnius, Lithuania and Ukraine, along with proponents of an endless proxy war against Russia, will want to show progress for the hundred plus billions of dollars spent so far.

On June 22 reported that Ukraine’s President Zelensky accused Russia of “plotting ‘radiation leak’ attack at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.”  Russia controls the nuclear plant and the United Nations is continuously monitoring it. It would make no sense for the Russians to blow up the plant. But Ukraine might bomb the plant, blame it on the Russians and this could be used as an excuse for NATO to intervene to reverse Ukraine’s battlefield losses.

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