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Wagner Group's future in doubt after Prigozhin's presumed death: analysis

25.08.2023 12:30
The apparent death of Wagner boss Yevgeniy Prigozhin in a plane crash this week casts doubts over the future of the Russian mercenary group, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US think tank.
Wagner Group mercenaries.
Wagner Group mercenaries.PAP/Stringer / Anadolu Agency/ABACAPRESS.COM

"The Wagner Group will likely no longer exist as a quasi-independent parallel military structure following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s almost certain assassination of Wagner financier Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner founder Dmitry Utkin, and reported Wagner logistics and security head Valery Chekalov on August 23," the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest analysis of Russia's military campaign in Ukraine.

The US-based think tank added that "the death of Wagner’s central leadership disrupts Wagner’s ability to reverse the effects of the Kremlin’s ... campaign to weaken, subsume, and destroy the organization following the June 24 armed rebellion."

The Russian defence ministry "has reportedly established private military companies that have been recruiting current and former Wagner personnel to assume control over Wagner’s operations abroad," according to the ISW.

"The elimination of this central leadership likely ends any remaining means Wagner had to operate independently" of the Russian defence ministry, the ISW assessed.

US President Joe Biden has said he is not surprised by reports that Prigozhin has died in a plane crash.

Prigozhin led a mutiny against Russia's top army brass in late June, according to reports at the time.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Friday is day 548 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, understandingwar.org