Prigozhin creates subterfuges to justify the Wagner group’s inability to encircle Bakhmut

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner PMC, is trying to create pretexts to explain why his mercenaries are unable to complete the encirclement of Bakhmut, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Source: ISW

Details: Analysts have pointed out that in a recent interview, Prigozhin claimed that the Ukrainian armed forces are preparing to launch counter-offensives in five different directions: to the Belgorod region, to the Kreminna region, to the Bakhmut region, towards Donetsk and to the Zaporizhia region. Prigozhin stated that Ukrainian forces would start these operations in mid-April and urged Russian forces to prepare for these counter-offensives by conserving ammunition and equipment.

ISW experts believe that Prigozhin likely portrayed Ukrainian forces as having enough fighting power to launch a massive theater-wide counteroffensive to justify the Wagner group’s inability to complete an encirclement or encirclement of Bakhmut.

ISW previously assessed that Wagnerists are likely to conduct opportunistic attacks on more easily captured settlements further north and northwest of Bakhmut, given their diminishing ability to make tactical gains in Bakhmut itself, and Prigozhin is likely attempting these activities as flank security in preparation for Ukrainian to design counter-offensives.

“Prigozhin’s account of impending Ukrainian counter-offensives also implies that he believes that Russian forces will soon lose the initiative against Ukraine and be put on the defensive, instead of continuing the stalled or unsuccessful offensives in the Kreminna, Bakhmut, Avdiivka or Vuhledar areas,” added ISW.

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