Wagner boss and Chechnya leader look to ‘blame’ Kremlin for war failure

The founder of the notorious Russian Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Chechnya leader, Ramzan Kadyrov plan to lay the groundwork to blame the Kremlin for failed operations of Russia in the Ukrainian Bakhmut area.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based think tank, the Russian Defense Ministry will be criticised by Prigozhin and Kadyrov for war failure and portray their troops as 'ineffective'.

The alleged strategy aims to establish a foundation for blaming the government department for unsuccessful operations in the Bakhmut area.

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Kadyrov expressed that his 'Akhmat' fighters were prepared to make progress towards the devastated city of Bakhmut, according to a statement in Telegram.

He also mentioned reaching out to Russian President Vladimir Putin and stated that he had already commenced working with the Russian Defense Ministry to develop a strategic plan.

Kadyrov further emphasised that his soldiers were on 'high alert' and 'eagerly awaiting orders'.

Moreover, Prigozhin has criticised the Russian Defense Ministry and the senior military members for the constant defeat of Russian forces faced by Kyiv's army in Bakhmut.

The Wagner Group, who held the key operations in the Ukrainian city, have stated that the reason is "lack of ammunition supplies".

Prigozhin stated that the mercenary fighters would be supplied with an ample quantity of ammunition and weapons necessary to sustain ongoing hostilities, according to the Russian state media.

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He has deliberately presented the battle for Donetsk city as exclusively involving Wagner and Akhmat forces while disregarding the role of Russian airborne forces.

It suggests Prigozhin's attempt to distance himself from the conventional Russian military, potentially allowing him to preserve his reputation if Wagner's forces are unable to capture Bakhmut.

The ISW said: "The switch from Wagner to Akhmat troops may also set conditions to blame the Russian MoD [Ministry of Defense] for future failures down the line."

"If Akhmat forces experience similar difficulties to Wagner and are unable to completely capture Bakhmut, Prigozhin and Kadyrov may feasibly blame the MoD for failing to adequately support their efforts.

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"Should the Russian Defense Ministry fail to back their plan, it could be vulnerable to accusations that the Chechen forces would have swiftly captured Bakhmut."

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has also stated that the claims made by Prigozhin and Kadyrov regarding their combat capabilities have been "significantly exaggerated".

While Chechen fighters have been observed in Ukraine in limited numbers, they have not played a significant combat role in Russian operations.

Royal United Services Institute, a London-based think tank said in November that they are a 'small core of combat-ready troops that appear to be very willing to deliver violence and oppression against either friend or foe'.

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