Russia’s Wagner mercenary company trying to humiliate Russian Defense Ministry – ISW

16 October 2022, 01:28 PM
Yevgeniy Prigozhin (Photo:Mikhail Metzel / ТАСС)

Yevgeniy Prigozhin (Photo:Mikhail Metzel / ТАСС)

The Russian mercenary company Wagner is trying to demonstrate its superiority to the Russian Defense Ministry, while its owner, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, wants to curry favor with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its report on Oct. 15.

ISW analysts pointed to a video posted on social media on Oct. 13, in which servicemen of the Russian 126th coastal defense brigade of the Black Sea Fleet in an unspecified location in Kherson Oblast complain that they have been fighting in this area since the start of the full-scale war without breaks or rotation of troops.

Video of day

The invaders claim that they are being crushed by Ukrainian forces and say that they have only one armored personnel carrier for 80 people, which severely limits their maneuverability.

After the video spread online on Oct. 14, a message appeared on the Wagner Telegram channel that the Wagner leadership had decided to transfer four off-road vehicles to the 126th coastal defense battalion in support of their efforts to hold the front line in Kherson Oblast.

“The transfer of basic equipment to a detachment of conventional Russian ground forces may be a covert criticism of the MoD’s apparent inability to provide basic necessities to its own soldiers,” ISW analysts said.

Meanwhile, Russia may have signed a new contract with Iran for the supply of Arash-2 drones, it has emerged.

Military experts cited information from Russian and Ukrainian Telegram channels including reports from unnamed Iranian sources. The number of purchased drones is unknown.

In September, the commander of the Iranian Ground Forces, Brigadier General Kioumars Heydari, said that the Arash-2 UAVs have unique long-range capabilities and can attack cities in Israel such as Tel Aviv and Haifa from bases in Iran. However, military experts doubt that Russian forces will be able to use the Arash-2 more effectively than they used the earlier purchased Shahed-136.

Other conclusions of ISW analysts over the past day:

  • Russia is conducting forced deportation of Ukrainians that likely amounts to a deliberate ethnic cleansing campaign in addition to apparent violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
  • Prominent Russian military bloggers, who previously claimed there were “hit lists” originating with the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and targeting military bloggers for their coverage of operations in Ukraine, walked back their claim on Oct. 15.
  • Russian forces continued counterattacks west of Kreminna.
  • Russian military bloggers widely discussed the likelihood of a Ukrainian counter-offensive on Kreminna and Svatove in Luhansk Oblast
  • Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian troops had launched a general counter-offensive in northern Kherson Oblast.
  • Ukrainian forces likely struck Russian military assets situated along Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) in Zaporizhzhya Oblast and southern Donetsk Oblast.
  • Russian and occupation administration officials continued to place restrictions on movement, and conduct strict law enforcement activities in Russian-occupied territories.

The map of hostilities

Photo: ISW
Photo: ISW
Photo: ISW
Photo: ISW

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