Many Questions Still Unanswered After Wagner’s Attempted ‘March On Moscow’

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A number of the photos printed on social medias whereas Wagner marched in the direction of Moscow, displaying the PMC’s tanks on Russian soil and among the plane shot down. (Images from Twitter, authors unknown)

Let’s recap what we all know concerning the skirmish that went down between Prigozhin and the Russian management.

The final couple of days had been fairly chaotic for Russia, after Wagner’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin declared battle on Russian navy management, vowing to punish the navy and restoring justice, threatening to kill anybody who tried to cease him. The tried “march on Moscow” began after the PMC’s chief claimed that Russia shelled considered one of his camps, killing “2,000 fighters”. The quantity was later revised to simply 30 troopers.

Earlier, the PMC’s boss accused the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the Chief of the Common Workers of the Russian Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, of “genocide of the Russian individuals” for sending hundreds of residents to die in a battle began on false pretenses, with out planning and with out enough gear. The Russian Protection Ministry denied Prigozhin’s statements, calling them “unfaithful and an informational provocation”.

In the intervening time, the FSB launched a prison investigation towards Prigozhin for calling for an armed rebel and safety forces had been placed on most alert, with all an important services, state authorities and transport infrastructure services put underneath enhanced safety, based on the Russians. Additionally, in an effort to decelerate Wagner’s advance, the federal government shut down the M-4 freeway out of Rostov-on-Don that heads in the direction of Moscow blocking it with vehicles and setting checkpoints.

In actual fact, Rostov-on-Don, about 50 miles from the Ukrainian border, was the primary Russian metropolis to be reached by the Wagner column. The PMC claimed to have taken the Southern Navy District headquarters, the regional FSB workplace, the town administration constructing, the airfield and other military facilities. Based on Prigozhin, all of them continued to work usually with out interruption, even when the town was occupied.

Along with social media posts displaying Wagner’s troopers and heavy armor in Rostov, movies appeared to point out Prigozhin assembly with Deputy Protection Minister Colonel Common Yevkurov and GRU Lieutenant Common Deputy Alekseev on the Southern Navy District headquarter. The encounter appeared peaceable and uneventful, even when the environment within the video was fairly tense.

Prigozhin continued to ship messages on his channels, saying he needed to satisfy with Shoigu and Gerasimov, with the latter reportedly leaving the town simply earlier than Wagner’s arrival. On the similar time, he continued to accuse the Russian management, saying that ”Russian losses in Ukraine are 3-4 times higher than reported by the Russian Excessive Command”, with “as much as 1,000 casualties a day”.

Whereas Rostov was taken with out photographs being fired, Wagner and Russian Military forces begun exchanging photographs on the way in which to Voronezh, about 300 miles north of Roston and midway to Moscow. The mercenaries ultimately took management of the town and its navy installations, however their advance resulted in quite a lot of losses for the Russian PMC and common forces.

It’s being reported that Wagner shot down not less than seven plane, together with three Mi-8MTPR (a specialised Digital Warfare variant of the Mi-8), an ordinary Mi-8, a Ka-52, a Mi-35, an An-26 and an Il-22 airborne command and communication aircraft. In actual fact, not less than one Pantsir-S1 and a Strela-10 floor to air missile techniques had been sighted shifting along with Wagner’s armored personnel carriers and tanks.

A number of Ka-52 have been employed within the operations, making an attempt to cease the PMC. One among them was used to assault an oil depot in Voronezh, presumably to keep away from it being captured by Wagner and used to refuel its autos. One other one had a detailed name with a floor to air missile, avoiding it on the final second because of flares and presumably DIRCM defenses. In actual fact, it seems that the Ka-52s are among the many main customers of the L370 Vitebsk DIRCM system.

Whereas all the above was occurring, the Russian MoD was making an attempt to achieve out to Wagner fighters, making an attempt to persuade them they had been being misled by Prigozhin and they need to contact authorities so they might get to security. Additionally, Putin addressed the nation, labeling the mercenaries as traitors and saying that they’d face an inevitable and brutal punishment. It’s price mentioning that neither Putin nor Prigozhin talked about the opposite one explicitly all through all of the occasions.

As Moscow ready for the worst, with the evacuation of public buildings and the creation of fortified checkpoints, a a lot sudden information got here by means of: Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko mediated between Russia and Wagner, ensuing within the PMC aborting the march on Moscow and turning again. Based on Prigozhin, the choice was taken as a result of Russian blood would have been inevitably shed.

Later, Putin’s spokesperson divulged the phrases of the deal: all prison fees towards Prigozhin had been dropped and he would additionally transfer to Belarus, Wagner fighters concerned in riot won’t be prosecuted, whereas those not concerned would be capable to be part of the common military. No phrase on any adjustments within the Russian navy management, even when unconfirmed sources reported that Shoigu might need been put underneath home arrest by the FSB, though he was seen attending a gathering in civilian garments as a substitute of his typical uniform.

Nonetheless, it nonetheless appears unlikely that Putin will let Prigozhin get away fully unpunished with what he did. In actual fact, Prigozhin may share the identical opinions as he disappeared for hours after the information concerning the deal, till some sources reported that he was sighted in Minsk. Additionally, based on TASS, the investigation towards him has not been closed, even when the Cremlin mentioned all fees could be dropped.

Including to the confusion, it seems that Putin was alerted by his intelligence companies that Prigozhin might need been planning one thing, however apparently determined to not act towards him or ignored the alert. The US intelligence group additionally grew to become conscious of a plan of the PMC being in movement, closely observing the situation.

Much more doubts emerged when Prigozhin reappeared and mentioned the among the many first causes for the march on Moscow there was the MoD resolution of ordering all PMC troops to affix the common military. Additionally, he added that the unique plan was to take his troops and autos to Rostov and switch them over to the MoD, regretting being pressured to assault Russian forces in response to their strikes towards the PMC.

One other of Prigozhin claims was that every one navy models encountered by his troops supported the PMC and didn’t oppose resistance, with the Russian navy management being extremely unpopular among the many common forces. As you may see, there are nonetheless plenty of questions unanswered and it’s potential that final week’s occasions may have penalties earlier than later.

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based mostly in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally finding out to realize a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT strategies utilized to the world of navy operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.



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