Arrests in Russian National Guard, Kadyrov worried about internal resistance
Russian security forces near the Kremlin, March 20, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina)
Two criminal proceedings against Russian National Guard (Rosgvardia) commanders in a row may be a sign Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is worried about the loyalty of his elite troops, the Institute for the Study of War said in its assessment of March 29.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on March 27 that the Ukrainian army may launch a counter-offensive in April or May, depending on the weather, the ISW wrote. He added that the GS would consider the use of recently received modern heavy equipment such as Leopard 2 and Challenger 2 talks.
The United States has also stepped up the pace of delivery of Abrams tanks and Patriot missile systems to Ukraine. Although modern technologies will support a future Ukrainian counter-offensive, there is a time gap between the arrival of this equipment to Ukraine and its deployment at the battlefield, experts said.
Two Rosgvardia commanders were recently accused of corruption. Russian National Guard naval department head, Colonel Sergey Volkov, was arrested on March 29 for purchase of low-quality and at the same time overpriced radar systems (Orel-UAV complexes - ed.). Deputy Commander of Rosgvardia's Central District, Major General Vadim Dragomiretsky, was detained on March 20.
This massive corruption investigation is notable for the absence of any precedents of dismissal or arrests among Russian military commanders since the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine. It shows Putin might be concerned about the reliability and loyalty of Rosgvardia, as well as about corruption within his military machine.
Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov's demonstrative reaction to the assault of a police station in Gudermes late on March 28 suggests he is strongly concerned about the stability of his rule in the region. Kadyrov brought his 15-year-old son to the scene to show him the bodies of two killed unknown assailants and captured videos for TikTok. There is also an extremely violent video of Kadyrov's mercenaries mocking the dead bodies. In such a way, he wants to prove to be a "strong" leader that deals relentlessly with any resistance, the ISW speculated.
"The fact that Kadyrov’s response to the attack was so immediate and heavy-handed suggests that he is concerned about the potential for internal resistance within Chechnya to undermine his authoritarian rule of the autonomous republic," the message reads.
It seems Russia and Iran deepen their ties. Thus, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian met in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on March 29. The ISW believes they discussed the further military supply of the Russian army in Ukraine with Iranian-made weapons, as well as finalised the deal to sell Russian Su-35 air-defense fighter to Iran.
Iranian Pouya Air Transport resumed regular flights between Tehran and Moscow on March 29 likely to support weapons transfer, the Ukrainian Resistance Center reported. Private military company Wagner has also agreed the supply of Shahed-131 suicide drones to fight in Ukraine, however there is no evidence of them using these drones yet, the ISW noted.
The ISW has already noted Russian-Iranian military cooperation in the full-scale war against Ukraine. Some Iranian personnel were highly likely in Ukraine in order to support the attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure. It seems, Iran intends to maintain bilateral relationships with Russia in regard to military issues.
Some other key conclusions of the ISW for the past day are the following:
Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin grabbed the chance to ameliorate his own personal image, stating that the recent two-year prison sentence for Aleksey Moskalev for his 12-year-old daughter’s antiwar drawing is unfair, despite the fact that Prigzhin himself had lobbied the legislation that considers discrediting the armed forces as criminal offenses.
- Russian troops launched a limited offensive in the area between Kupyansk, Svatove, and Kreminna.
- Occupying Russian troops are continuing their offensive efforts near Bakhmut and Avdiyivka.
- The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, paid his second visit to the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.
- Russia is continuing its efforts to integrate Ukrainian occupied regions.
- Belarus announced the conscription "planned measures" for military training, as well as retraining of reserve servicemen.
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