© CENTER FOR NATIONAL RESISTANCE
Wagner PMC sponsor Prigozhin took advantage of Russians’ general dissatisfaction with security on the border of the Belgorod region to threaten that his mercenaries could operate on Russian territory without the permission of the Russian military command, according to a report today by the Institute for the Study of War.
He stated that the mercenaries would not wait for an invitation or permission from the Ministry of Defense to defend the Belgorod region if the Ministry of Defense did not cope with the threat to the security of the region. He justified his threat of disobedience by saying that Wagner was seeking to “protect” the Russian people, meaning that the role of the defender of the border, which the MOD should already fulfill. Prigozhin’s threats are based on complaints from other well-known figures in the information space that the Russian authorities have not done enough to protect the border areas from the consequences of the war and reflect Prigozhin’s current loss of information initiative.
Prigozhin’s threats also indicate that he may want Wagner’s troops to assume primary or sole responsibility for the Axis in the Ukrainian theater now that Wagner’s troops have moved away from that role in the Bakhmut area.
He may view the Belgorod-Ukraine border as a fairly easy front to defend, since raids into Russia have hitherto been on a very limited scale. Deploying Wagner forces on the border with Belgorod would allow him to maintain his position as commander of the frontline forces without the grueling demands of conducting man-wave-style frontline attacks on a heavily fortified Ukrainian city.
The apparent threat to launch military operations, even defensive ones, on Russian territory without the permission of the Russian Ministry of Defense is surprising, if this is anything other than flamboyant rhetoric. This means that Prigozhin considers himself capable of using the great military forces loyal to him at his own discretion and outside the control of the actual Russian military. Putin would have to have enormous confidence in Priigozhin’s personal loyalty to himself in order to feel at all comfortable in such a situation.
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