Yevgeny Prigozhin’s power is increasing. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported this back in October. This goes so far that the head of the Wagner militia, known as “Putin’s cook”, could pose a threat to Vladimir Putin.
Now high-ranking Russian officials are apparently taking countermeasures. To prevent Prigozhin from building a force beyond the direct control of the Russian Defense Ministry, they support the creation of a military counterweight. This is reported by the Ukrainian military intelligence service HUR.
According to the report, the senior officials are helping Kremlin-affiliated businessman Armen Sarkisyan set up a “private military company.” They are actually banned in Russia. However, this should compete with the Wagner militia and break up Prigozhin’s quasi-monopoly on such companies in Russia.
In addition, Sarkisyan was recently appointed as the new administrator of prisons in the Russian-occupied territories. He also receives financial support from Samuel Karapetyan, a Russian-Armenian billionaire. He is the owner of the Tashir Group, a supplier to Gazprom.
Apparently, Sarkisyan is not planning any other methods than Prigozhin. He also wants to recruit prisoners. However, he is not the only one who wants to limit the influence of “Putin’s cook”. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is also counting on the help of Russian officials to increase his influence while weakening Prigozhin’s position. The aim is to create paramilitary structures within the Russian army.
On Telegram, Kadyrov even stated that he met Putin on November 25 about this. It was about building a new Russian military and the participation of Chechen units in the war in Ukraine.
After the unexplained death of the Belarusian foreign minister, the suspicion arises that there is more to Makej’s death than just a tragic death. According to Anton Gerashenko, Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser Gerashenko, there are already some rumors that he has been poisoned. Background: Vladimir Makej was considered a possible successor to Lukashenko – and was not under Russian influence. But one sentence suggests something else behind the rumors. According to Gerashenko, the alleged murder of Makej was a “pointer” to Lukashenko.
Even before Makej’s death, the US think tank Robert Lansing Institute for Global Threats reported on the Kremlin’s possible plan. Citing Russian military leadership sources, it was said that Putin had had enough of Belarusian President Lukashenko and had decided to take a radical step to force Belarus into the war against Ukraine.
Accordingly, in the coming days, the Russian military intelligence service (GRU) could try to either kill Lukashenko in an assassination attempt or imitate an assassination attempt to intimidate the Belarusian president. That should encourage him to order his troops to join the Russian army, according to US think tank sources.
If Lukashenko survived and gave in to Putin’s will to go to war, he would be de facto disempowered and part of the Kremlin’s puppet show, according to the analysis by the US factory. Should he die in the assassination, the pro-Russian OKVS Secretary General Stanislav Zas would immediately take his place. It doesn’t matter whether Lukashenko dies in the scenario or not – the USA and NATO should be held responsible.
In response to condemning Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, the Kremlin has accused the European Parliament of “unbridled Russophobia and hatred of Russia”. There is a “huge lack of professionalism” in the EU Parliament, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday, according to the Itar-Tass agency, on Russian state television. The parliamentarians are guided by emotions. In any case, the resolution is not legally binding and Moscow “does not take the condemnation to heart”.
A large majority of MEPs approved a resolution on Wednesday calling Russia a “state using terrorist means”.
So far, European law has not recognized a category or list for states that support terrorism. The EU Parliament had also called for further restrictions on diplomatic relations with Russia. The resolution also calls for further punitive measures such as an embargo on Russian diamonds. Roughly nine months ago, Russia launched a war of aggression against neighboring Ukraine.
Ukraine has reported further progress in supplying electricity to the recently liberated regional capital, Kherson, in the south of the country. In the meantime, around 17 percent of households have been connected to the electricity grid again, regional governor Yaroslav Yanuschevych announced on Sunday evening. The deputy chief of the presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, published a photo taken in the dark on Telegram, which shows individual illuminated house windows.
After several months under Russian occupation, the Ukrainian army recaptured the city of Cherson and other places in the region of the same name in mid-November. Since then, the city, which once had 300,000 inhabitants, has not only been exposed to fierce Russian attacks, but has also been struggling with massive problems with electricity, heat and water supplies. In view of the difficult situation, the Ukrainian government started driving civilians to other parts of the country to spend the winter a few days ago.
According to British intelligence services, Russia has suffered many casualties in the hard-fought Donetsk region. Around the towns of Pavlivka and Wuhledar in the south of the region, there have been intense fighting over the past two weeks, with heavy losses for the Russian marines, according to a report by the British Ministry of Defense on Sunday. London also sees the fighting as a sign that Russia sees the region as a possible starting point for a northbound offensive.
Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine at the end of February, the British Ministry of Defense has published daily information on the course of the war, citing intelligence information. In doing so, the British government wants to both counter the Russian portrayal and keep allies in line. Moscow accuses London of a disinformation campaign.
Meanwhile, the missile war in Ukraine continues. At least 13 people were injured in renewed Russian rocket attacks on the Ukrainian industrial city of Dnipro. This was announced by the military governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Valentyn Resnichenko, on his Telegram channel on Saturday. In addition to Dnipro, the small town of Chasiv Yar in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk was also hit on Saturday. On the other side, the Russian-backed separatists reported that one person was killed and one injured in the Ukrainian shelling of the city of Donetsk.
Two days before the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised Germany’s military support for Ukraine. Germany’s “strong support” makes a “crucial difference,” Stoltenberg told the “Welt am Sonntag”. The German air defense systems would help “protect homes, schools and hospitals from Russian missiles”. It was important to maintain and strengthen support for Ukraine. This would help Ukrainians uphold their right to self-defense.
Most recently, in the German-Polish dispute over Patriot air defense systems for Ukraine, Stoltenberg emphasized that it was Germany’s “national decision” whether or not to deliver the system to Ukraine.
At the beginning of the week, Germany proposed using the Patriot system to strengthen Poland’s air defenses after rockets fell in the border area with Ukraine, killing two people. However, Warsaw suggested transferring the Patriot battery to Ukraine. Poland caught the federal government by surprise with this move.
Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) then called for a discussion at NATO level. Their argument: the Patriot systems are planned as part of NATO’s integrated air defense and cannot be relocated to Ukraine without discussion. Apparently Stoltenberg now fears that the topic could overshadow the foreign ministers’ meeting in Bucharest next week. There, the alliance wants to announce, among other things, more winter aid for Ukraine.
Russia and Ukraine exchanged prisoners of war for the third time in a week. “We managed to free twelve of our people,” said the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Andriy Yermak, on his Telegram channel on Saturday. The Ministry of Defense in Moscow confirmed the exchange of nine soldiers with Russian citizenship.
According to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine wants to deliver grain worth 150 million dollars to the poorest countries in the world with the help of the western industrialized countries. “Food security is one of the key elements of global stability,” said the 44-year-old in his daily video address on Saturday. He presented the “Grain from Ukraine” program as an important step in combating the global food crisis.
After the end of the Russian naval blockade, Ukraine had already shipped 12 million tons of food to 40 countries via its Black Sea ports. “Of this, more than 2.5 million tons are destined for countries that are not only affected by food shortages, but also by a serious crisis,” reported Zelenskyj. According to him, these deliveries are to be expanded with the new grain export initiative.
Russia and Ukraine are not only wrestling with each other on the battlefield. It is also a matter of asserting one’s own interpretation of the conflict internationally. Both countries are increasingly targeting the poor countries in Africa and Asia, which – in contrast to the industrialized countries of the West – have not yet positioned themselves clearly. Zelenskyy’s initiative serves to draw the largely neutral states of Africa and Asia to Kiev’s side.
For its part, Moscow recently blamed the West for the global food crisis. Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin portrayed his war of aggression against Ukraine as a defense against Western claims to hegemony.
Duma head Vyacheslav Volodin visits the former Soviet republic of Uzbekistan. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine has triggered concerns about their own sovereignty in the Central Asian ex-Soviet republics. In view of Moscow’s continuing supremacy in the region, there have been no open protests against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, but given the increasingly distanced regional elites, the Russian leadership must fear a loss of influence there as well.
Also read: The Ukraine Update on November 26 – Report: Putin Plans to Train 120,000 New Soldiers by Spring
Belarusian ruler Lukashenko has ruled out deploying his army in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy announces that Russia will not break its people. Meanwhile, Russia fires deadly missiles at the liberated Cherson. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.
Russia continues to attack Ukraine with numerous missiles. In the recently liberated city of Kherson, the first people are being evacuated. According to a new British intelligence report, Russia is firing missiles with detached nuclear warheads.
In August 2021, Russia is said to have planned a military conflict with Japan. This is reported by a whistleblower from the Russian Federal Security Service in a secret letter. In view of the Kuril dispute, Russia had an “insane will to war”. But then the country attacked Ukraine.