Imagine you’re watching a boxing match. One fighter lands an unexpected series of blows on the other and stuns him a bit. The weary boxer on the losing end of the exchange begins to wobble a little, weak in the knees, and there is a hint of a glaze in his eyes.
What would you expect the attacking boxer to do now that they have the upper hand? Back off and let their opponent regain their composure? I think not. At least not if they are any good and want to win.
No, the fighter with the advantage should see the weakness in his opponent and go in for the kill. Knock him out as fast as possible. End the fight.
This same strategy would work well for Ukraine.
In case you have not been watching the news or reading SOFREP today, the leader of the Wagner group and a former ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has turned on the Kremlin after accusing the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) of purposefully killing a number of his men in an airstrike. The Russian MOD vehemently denies this allegation.
To gauge Prigozhin’s level of dissatisfaction, he made the video below, calling out specific high-ranking Russian officials by name after several of his men were killed because he felt they were not getting enough ammunition from the Russian military.
The 62-year-old Wagner leader posted a series of angry videos and audio recordings denouncing the actions of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who he said ordered missile strikes on Wagner positions in Ukraine. He decided to rally his remaining troops, some 25,000 strong, to March to Moscow, their intent not 100% clear.
Prigozhin boldly stated:
“This is not a military coup, but a march of justice.”
Yeah, just like they did in Berkeley in the ’60s, I’m sure.
President Putin, somewhat predictably, took angrily to the airwaves to denounce his former ally and state he would quash the rebellion. He said his nation’s “very existence” was under threat.
How This Benefits Ukraine
All of this confusion and concern is good for Ukraine.
Sun Tzu said, “The opportunity for defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”
Like our wobbly boxer above, an off-balance and distracted enemy can more easily be defeated.
Chaos and infighting weaken an enemy’s resolve and diverts their attention. Actions such as Prigozhin’s march on Moscow provide the Ukrainians with a window of opportunity to regain control in faltering areas and redouble their counteroffensive efforts.
Multiple reports state that Ukraine is indeed taking advantage of the situation. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Miliar took to Telegram to say their forces had launched an offensive near Bakhmut. The area had been taken by Wagner in May after an extended period of combat. In addition, the Ukrainian commander of forces on the southern front, Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, reported that his forces freed an area just west of the center of Russia-held Donetsk.
A Developing Story
As I write this, I hear over the news on my television that the Wagner rebels got within 125 miles of the Russian capital and stopped. Earlier, they had captured the city of Rostov, home of a major military command in the south of Russia.
Russian police has returned to Rostov after the Wagner Group’s departure tonight.
The people aren’t happy to see them. They are blocking your he streets and hurling insults at the policemen.
Visible cracks have appeared in Russian society pic.twitter.com/q8Ew9kjdXS
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) June 24, 2023
When Wagner left the city of Rostov, local police took to the streets to subdue upset residents who did not want to see them go. Just how bad do things have to be when you get pissed to see an army of angry mercenaries leave your town? As noted in the tweet above, “Visible cracks have appeared in Russian society.”
Apparently, Prigozhin order a stop to the march after peace was brokered by all people; the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. Multiple news outlets are reporting that Prigozhin and all of his fighters have been given full immunity from prosecution and are free to return to their bases.
That is a real jaw-dropper. I did not see this ending peacefully. I did not believe Putin would allow Prigozhin and his men to go “home” like nothing had ever happened. They were on the brink of civil war, and now “poof” all gone.
Still, I don’t envision a Russia where both Putin and Prigozhin can co-exist peacefully. Something has got to give.
Remember, folks; you read it hear first on SOFREP. Something very bad is going to happen to Yevgeny Prigozhin and his Wagner mercenaries. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow. Maybe he will wait to the war is over and they have served his purpose, but mark my words, Putin will have his revenge.