Andrii Yusov, the representative of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, believes that the statements of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Private Military Company, about the Ukrainian offensive are part of the preparation of Russian elites for life after defeat in the war with Ukraine.
Source: Yusov in an interview with RBC-Ukraine
Yusov was asked why, in his opinion, Prigozhin is so active in commenting on the upcoming Ukrainian offensive
Quote: “People like Prigozhin, when we talk about Russian so-called society, if they say something, they say it not only on their own behalf but on behalf of their partners, patrons, who allow such statements and such speeches.
A part of the Russian so-called political and ruling elite is considering various scenarios, including planning some kind of life after Putin, after the defeat in the war with Ukraine. That’s why they are preparing for various apocalyptic (but actually realistic) scenarios for Russia.
I think that this is not even one wing; these are different environments that can compete with each other. For example, Prigozhin and Girkin, to put it mildly, do not like each other in the public sphere. But their narratives often point to the same problems in the occupying army. Therefore, they are different environments.”
Details: In his opinion, the number of “environments” will only grow.
Yusov called Prigozhin’s statement about the withdrawal of the Wagnerites from Bakhmut a preparation for “searching for the extreme” in the future:
Quote: “If in a few months the situation for the Russian army is miserable on several fronts, including in the east, they will be looking for the blame game. Of course, in this situation, Prigozhin will show his statements from a few months ago and say: ‘I’m definitely not the last man standing.’.”
- On 5 May, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner private military company, wrote a letter to the Russian Defence Ministry stating that he would be withdrawing his mercenaries from Bakhmut after 10 May. He claimed that the reason for the move was that the Ministry of Defence did not give his fighters enough ammunition, and he did not want his people to be “doomed to a senseless death” because of this.
- The Armed Forces of Ukraine are sceptical about the claim made by Prigozhin.
- Later, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov offered his assistance with the occupation of Bakhmut.
- On 6 May, Prigozhin announced that he would supposedly hand over the positions of his fighters in Bakhmut to Kadyrov’s soldiers.
- On 7 May, Prigozhin claimed that he had received a combat instruction – presumably from the Russian Ministry of Defence – saying that his soldiers would receive ammunition and weapons.