Ukraine war: Is Prigozhin planning a coup against Putin's military? Girkin makes accusations against the Wagner boss. © PRIGOZHIN PRESS SERVICE/dpa
Nationalist Igor Girkin warns of a coup in Russia by Wagner boss Prigozhin. Neither the military nor Putin would intervene in the conflict.
Moscow – Former Russian officer and nationalist Igor Girkin accuses mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin of plotting a coup against Russia's current leadership. In a video, Girkin claims that Prigozhin is playing a coup d'état in the face of the imminent counteroffensive and is constantly violating Russian censorship laws in order to harm the Russian army and military leadership. If Prigozhin continues to lead the Wagner group, a "mutiny" could be imminent, Girkin warned, according to the US think tank Institute Study of War (ISW).
Is Wagner boss Prigozhin planning a coup against Putin? Nationalist makes accusations
A conflict between Prigozhin and Putin's military leadership seems to have been going on for some time. ISW experts point to Prigozhin's statement on May 27 that Wagner would later decide whether to fight in Ukraine or in another country. For the ISW experts, the statement means that Prigozhin wants to be able to use his mercenaries outside the formal Russian military command structure.
Prigozhin will "devour" the Russian military, warns nationalist Girkin
Girkin, according to the ISW, notes a crucial mistake of the Russian military leadership: it failed to address the conflict between Prigozhin and the Ministry of Defense. A member of Girkin's club of angry patriots claimed that the conflict between Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Prigozhin was developing into a conflict between the Russian military and the Wagner forces. Nevertheless, Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin is not intervening, although Prigozhin's growing influence could pose a threat to him. Prigozhin could "devour" officers of the Russian military in order to increase his political power, Girkin warned.
Prigozhin had repeatedly dealt out against the Russian army leadership. Apparently with impunity, he repeatedly denounces the incompetence of the Russian army leadership – especially Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov. He publicly accused the Russian military leadership of incompetence and failure to supply his troops.
Wagner boss begins withdrawal from Bakhmut, mocking Putin's troops
Recently, he announced a withdrawal from Bakhmut before the Ukrainian counteroffensive and at the same time mocked the Russian troops. "If the Ministry of Defense's own armed forces are not enough, we have thousands of generals. We just need to assemble a battalion of generals, give them all the weapons, and everything will be fine," Prigozhin reportedly said.
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According to Prigozhin, the Russian mercenary group Wagner has begun withdrawing its own troops from Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. The city will be completely left to the regular Russian armed forces for control, Prigozhin said in a video. This process will be completed by 1 June. The Wagner troops would retreat to their camps for recovery and preparation for the next missions. "We are retreating, resting, preparing, and then we will get new tasks," Prigozhin said. According to him, two experienced Wagner fighters are to remain in Bakhmut in support of the Russian army. The Ukrainian government confirmed the troop swap in Bakhmut. (bohy)