Ukrainian forces advance after Wagner boss Prigozhin stops revolt
Ukraine advances forces near Bakhmut • Ukrainian officials say "chaos in Russia" works to their advantageBy JERUSALEM POST STAFF
Ukraine: Chaos in Russia works to our advantage
Chaos in Russia works to Kyiv's advantage, Ukraine officials said on Saturday, but it remains to be seen whether President Volodymyr Zelensky and his army can capitalize on the disorder caused this weekend as mercenaries marched towards Moscow.
Late on Saturday, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a founder of the Wagner army, said he was halting his "march for justice" on Moscow after a deal that spared him and his mercenaries from facing criminal charges.
The deal also exiled Prigozhin to Belarus.Go to the full article >>
Ukrainian military: Forces have advanced on the eastern front
Ukraine's military said on Saturday that its forces had made advances near Bakhmut, one of the focal points of fighting on the eastern front, and in an area further south.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar, writing on Telegram, said an offensive was launched near a group of villages ringing Bakhmut -- the town taken by Russia's Wagner mercenary forces last month after months of fighting.Go to the full article >>
Three thousand elite Chechen troops sent to protect Moscow
Three thousand elite Chechen troops took up positions in Moscow early on Saturday morning to defend the Russian capital against advancing mutineers from the Wagner mercenary group, the Chechen state broadcaster "Grozny" said on Saturday night.
"The fighters have been at their positions in Moscow since early morning and are ready to carry out any order from Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces Vladimir Putin," it said on Telegram.
On Saturday afternoon, Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin agreed to call back his armed convoy approaching the capital with the aim of toppling the military leadership, under an agreement brokered by the president of Belarus.
Go to the full article >>
What led to Wagner's revolt in Russia? -analysis
The Wagner private mercenary company's mutiny in Russia over the weekend was more of a revolt against the Defense Ministry rather than President Vladimir Putin, as the feud between the two military groups escalated over independence and operational conduct.
Wagner's head Yevgeny Prigozhin seizing of military bases and advance on Moscow was preceded by an alleged missile strike by the Russian military on the flanks of Wagner forces, which Wagner channels claimed had killed many mercenaries. The attack has yet to have been confirmed by mainstream sources, and could just as easily be disinformation to lend greater justification for the mutiny. If there was such a strike, it would have been an act of open conflict in the cold war between Prigozhin and the Defense Ministry.
Prigozhin statements as he launched the limited revolt showed that it was the Russian military brass and Shoigu that were the focus of his ire, rather than Putin and the government as a whole.
The mercenary leader released a video on Friday in which he attacked the Defense Ministry and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as misleading the public and Putin about the war. Prigozhin said that the ministry had started the war because they claimed that there was aggression from NATO and Ukraine.
Prigozhin also asserted that the Russian brass had embezzled funds for forces stationed in the rebel Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Oligarchs and other officials had also "plundered" the regions.
Singling out politicians
Prigozhin singled out Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov and Shoigu for causing the death of tens of thousands of Russians in failed operations on Friday.
"For the victory of Russia, you need to stop lying, stop stealing and stop thinking only about your well-being and your own places, but think about the soldiers, about their lives," said Prigozhin, who said soldiers were being sent into battle without ammunition.
While the oligarch, often called "Putin's chef" due to his catering company contracts with the government, has framed his mutiny as being in the service of soldier's rights. Yet like the missile strike, this may be more dinner theater, or garnish to the main dish. The source of the strife is likely more personal.
Shoigu and Prigozhin have been in a bitter political rivalry since the early days of the war. Prigozhin has been heavily critical of Shoigu and Kremlin brass for their competency in the war, which he attributed just as many Russian failures to as he has victories to his own forces. Prigozhin has claimed that his troops have been starved of artillery shells by the Russian Defense Ministry. Other reports indicate Wagner had been denied access to prisons for recruitment by the ministry.
While previously Wagner and other mercenary groups enjoyed a great deal of autonomy, a decree was set to require them to sign contracts with the Defense Ministry by the coming Saturday. Prigozhin refused. The mutiny in large part seems to have been aimed at securing his militia's independence.
"They wanted to disband the Wagner military company. We embarked on a march of justice on June 23," Prigozhin said on Saturday.
This "march of justice" had called for the ousting of Shoigu and his staff.
Ukrainian intelligence has long predicted armed conflict between different factions in the Russian military complex. The Ukrainian National Resistance Center has claimed that Prigozhin had wanted to take the place of Shoigu as the Defense Minister.
On Saturday night, after negotiations with Belarus Prigozhin seems to have stopped short of his alleged aspirations of replacing Shoigu by force, but it remained to be seen if talks had secured him the autonomy he sought for Wagner.Go to the full article >>
Rebel Russian mercenaries will turn back to avoid bloodshed, leader says
Mutinous Russian mercenaries who surged most of the way to Moscow have agreed to turn back to avoid bloodshed, their leader said on Saturday, in a de-escalation of what had become a major challenge to President Vladimir Putin's grip on power.
The fighters of the Wagner private army were just 200 km (125 miles) from the capital, said the leader, former Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin. The rebels had captured the city of Rostov hundreds of miles to the south before racing across the country.
"They wanted to disband the Wagner military company. We embarked on a march of justice on June 23. In 24 hours we got to within 200 km of Moscow. In this time we did not spill a single drop of our fighters' blood," Prigozhin said in an audio message.Go to the full article >>
Wagner boss Prigozhin agrees to de-escalate revolt in Russia
Mutinous Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Saturday he had ordered his fighters advancing on Moscow in convoy to turn around and return to their bases to avoid bloodshed.
Prigozhin had earlier said that he wanted to oust the army's top brass and "restore justice." Putin said the mutiny had to be decisively put down.
The office of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he had spoken to Prigozhin with Putin's approval, and that the head of the Wagner militia had agreed to de-escalate the situation.
In an audio message released by his press service, Prigozhin said:
"They wanted to disband the Wagner military company. We embarked on a march of justice on June 23. In 24 hours we got to within 200 km of Moscow. In this time we did not spill a single drop of our fighters' blood.
"Now the moment has come when blood could be spilled. Understanding responsibility [for the chance] that Russian blood will be spilled on one side, we are turning our columns around and going back to field camps as planned."
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had a second telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday evening to inform him of the results of his talks with Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, Belarusian state news agency Belta reported.
Earlier, Lukashenko's office said he had spoken to Prigozhin with Putin's approval, and that the mutinous head of the Wagner militia had agreed to stop the movements of his fighters, some of whom were advancing on Moscow in a convoy, and de-escalate.
Moscow in shock as residents fearful over mutinous Wagner mercenaries
An uneasy calm prevailed on the streets of Moscow on Saturday evening, as soldiers in the Russian capital prepared to meet a convoy of mutinous mercenaries, setting up machine gun positions and checkpoints around the city.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, had declared that a "counter-terrorism regime" was in force, before the leader of the Wagner private militia announced that his fighters would turn back to avoid bloodshed.
Yevgeny Prigozhin had said he wanted to oust the army's top brass and "restore justice", while Putin had promised to crush the mutiny.
One Moscow resident who gave his name as Nikolai - declining like others to give his surname - watched the military take up positions to protect the city.
"It's frightening of course - you sit at home thinking about what might happen," he told Reuters. "It's disturbing, both for you and your loved ones."Go to the full article >>
Israel warns citizens against Russia travel amid revolt as Netanyahu holds talks
The Foreign Ministry recommended against Israeli citizens traveling to Russia in light of the Wagner mercenary group's revolt against the Kremlin on Saturday evening.
The ministry also recommends citizens keep up with the developments going on in Moscow through the Israeli Embassy in Russia.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also will hold a situational assessment on Saturday evening amid the mutiny developing in Russia. The Foreign Affairs Ministry also held a situational assessment and concluded that at this time, there is no to evacuate diplomats or any of their family members from Russia. They also concluded that there are about 60 to 70 thousand Israeli citizens in Russia and over 500 thousand Jews eligible for the Law of Return.
Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer, chairman of the Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, will convene with a committee to discuss immigration from Russia to Israel in light of the recent conflict.
"The government must recalculate a course regarding immigration from Russia and not miss the opportunity for a large wave of immigration," Forer said.Go to the full article >>
US communicating with Western leaders on revolt in Russia
US President Joe Biden spoke with the leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom on Saturday as mutinous Russian mercenaries barrelled towards Moscow after seizing a southern city overnight, the White House said.
"The leaders discussed the situation in Russia. They also affirmed their unwavering support for Ukraine," a readout said.
Biden was briefed about the unfolding situation in Russia by his national security team on Saturday morning, the White House said, adding that the president will continue to be briefed throughout the day.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has also spoken to counterparts from G7 nations.Go to the full article >>
Top US general cancels trip to Middle East over Russia situation
The top US military officer, Army General Mark Milley, has canceled a scheduled trip to the Middle East due to depart on Saturday because of the situation in Russia, his spokesperson said.
Milley, who was meant to travel to Israel and Jordan, also spoke on Saturday with his Ukrainian counterpart, Milley's office said in a separate statement.Go to the full article >>
WAGNER'S REVOLT IN RUSSIA:
Facing the first serious challenge to his grip on power of his 23-year rule, President Vladimir Putin vowed to crush an armed mutiny he compared to Russia's Civil War a century ago