Russia seeing growing concerns over upcoming Ukrainian counter-offensive, says Norwegian political analyst

20 April, 02:26 PM
Ukrainian military personnel are training at a training ground in the Donetsk Oblast, preparing for a counter-offensive (Photo:REUTERS/Yan Dobronosov)

Ukrainian military personnel are training at a training ground in the Donetsk Oblast, preparing for a counter-offensive (Photo:REUTERS/Yan Dobronosov)

The longer the wait for the Ukrainian counter-offensive, the more anxiety grows in Russia, as evidenced by the latest statements of the owner of Russian mercenary company Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, writes political analyst and professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo Pavel Baev, an April 19 column for NV.

In his blog, Prigozhin recently published a long text about the events in Ukraine, in which he suggested, among other things, that the Kremlin should end the war against Ukraine and focus on consolidating the territorial gains it has managed to eke out. He also stated that the Russian people “are tired of war and are losing their taste for victory.”

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“What emerges from Prigozhin’s incoherent narrative (probably created by a group of hired copywriters) is a deeper worry about the upcoming Ukrainian counter-offensive and possible breakthrough than the concerns that most Moscow experts dare to express,” Baev said.

“The head of the Wagner PMC warns that the ‘defeatist mood’ in the army can lead to a worsening of the situation on the battlefield, as it happened in the trenches of World War I in 1917.”

According to the expert, the main drawback of Prigozhin’s proposal is that Ukraine will not accept Moscow’s unilateral declaration of victory and will not give it time to rehabilitate its exhausted troops. Although the long-awaited counter-offensive has not yet begun, Ukrainians remain optimistic, recalling past victories in this war.

Baev believes that psychological pressure on the Russian leadership is growing, since it is Kyiv that now decides when and in which direction to start its counter-offensive operation, and this proves that Russia has lost the initiative and is approaching the loss of the war.

“Time is an elusive factor for clear estimates, but Prigozhin’s sense of impending disaster may be a better indicator than (Russian dictator Vladimir) Putin’s perception of declining Western support for Ukraine, which his own courtiers seem to be misinforming him about,” Baev wrote.

“Thus, procrastination can serve not only as a useful tactical trick, but also as a winning strategy for Ukraine, provided that its leadership accurately assesses Russia’s vulnerability and will rush into battle at the right time.”

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