'Major problem': Top Russian warlord exposes deep issues with the Kremlin's war efforts in shocking public social media rant
President Vladimir Putin is facing a serious upset in his campaign in Ukraine as a startling confession from a Russian warlord hints at an increasingly desperate battle for the Kremlin.
The Russian war effort has been derailed by sensational infighting and inadequate reserves as the campaign takes a desperate turn a year in.
The ongoing rivalry between Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin – who runs mercenary army the Wagner Group – and senior Russian officials has come to a head in recent days.
Mr Prigozhin posted a searing audio message to his Telegram channel where he acknowledged a “major problem” was unfolding in the Russian war effort.
In a deliberate provocation of the Kremlin’s information vacuum on the war in Ukraine, the oligarch accused Russian officials of deliberately sabotaging his soldiers by denying them adequate ammunition.
He said tens of thousands of Wagner Group fighters were facing supply difficulties despite Russian military production being sufficient to meet the increasing demand.
He accused Russian officials of deliberately sabotaging his soldiers while they were dining off “golden plates” and enjoying holidays in Dubai.
The seven-minute sweary rant by Mr Prigozhin exposed significant tensions between the Kremlin and stakeholders in the lengthy campaign in Ukraine.
There has been an ongoing rivalry between Mr Prigozhin – known as Putin’s chef - and parts of the Russian elite for many months.
The warlord has become known throughout the year-long Russian campaign in Ukraine for his public feuds with top Russian officials and generals.
He has been highly critical of the country’s top military brass and their approach to the war, accusing them of mismanagement and a myriad of mistakes.
Mr Prigozhin previously expressed in October last year to Russian President Vladimir Putin privately that the Defence Ministry has neglected the Wagner Group and is not providing sufficient money and resources to the mercenary army.
Wagner Group has been behind the months-long battle for the town of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region and was largely responsible for the Russian capture of Soledar.
NEW: The major phase of Russian offensive operations in #Luhansk Oblast is underway, and #Russia likely lacks sufficient uncommitted reserves to dramatically increase the scale or intensity of the offensive this winter. #Ukraine latest w/ @criticalthreats: https://t.co/sXNDrBE7ul pic.twitter.com/bmjVE2fzeP— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) February 20, 2023
The group of private military contractors has largely drawn from the country’s prisons to beef up its ranks, with the White House reporting that roughly 90 per cent of Wagner’s casualties were convicts.
The American think tank Institute for the Study of War has estimated that Russia lacks “sufficient uncommitted reserves” to dramatically increase the scale or intensity of its offensive this winter in their latest intelligence update.
This points to another worrying sign that President Putin’s campaign is facing severe issues as the war creeps just days away from the one-year anniversary of its onset.
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