Russia: John Brennan discusses Putin and the Wagner Group
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Vladimir Putin is facing another military revolt, after an army guards unit publicly complained about a lack of critical military equipment and of suffering from exhaustion. The 126th Coastal Defence Brigade is believed to be currently on military duties in the Kherson region. The area has seen intense fighting in recent weeks, as Ukraine’s army continues its counteroffensive to retake the province and the port city of Kherson, which is strategically located on the Dnipro River and Black Sea.
The brigade is a detachment of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and was only recently granted the “Guards” honorific.
The award was intended to compensate the unit for the heavy losses it suffered, while unsuccessfully attempting to capture Voznesensk in southrern Ukraine earlier in the campaign.
However, the soldiers appear to be increasingly unhappy with the conditions in which they are having to serve.
Members of the brigade published a video to social media on October 13, in which they complained about suffering from fatigue and a lack of vital military hardware.
They said they had been on active duty since the beginning of the war and had not been granted any breaks or rotation.
Moreover, they asserted that they were being “crushed” by Ukraine’s army and were in desperate need of transport.
The Guardsmen claimed that they had only one BTR (armoured personnel vehicle) for 80 people.
In their public address to Putin, the troops said: “We are soldiers from the 126th brigade.
“Since the first day of the war we have been fulfilling our orders to defend the Crimea and its citizens.
“Ukrainian nationalists are attacking us with artillery, drones and modern weaponry.
“Our mobility is being seriously hampered by a lack of adequate transport.
“We are fighting a modern war and need be able to get around quickly. We have one BTR left for 80 people.
“We are hoping that you will support us.”
Chuck Pfarrer, a former US Navy Seal and military analyst, described the public appeal as a “classic case of insubordination and a crime just short of mutiny”.
Following the publication of the video, the Wagner militia sent the brigade four off-road vehicles in support of their efforts to hold the frontline in the Kherson province.
Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) saw the move as a play by the group’s founder and financier Yegeny Prigozhin, to further undermine the authority and standing of Russia’s Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu.
In their Saturday war bulletin, they wrote: “This exchange is noteworthy in light of ISW’s previous assessment that Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin is actively attempting to curry favour with Russian President Vladimir Putin and set Wagner Group forces apart from conventional MoD forces.
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“The move to donate basic equipment to a detachment of conventional Russian ground forces may be an implicit critique of the MoD’s apparent inability to provide such necessities to its own soldiers.”
It comes as UK’s Ministry of Defence said that Moscow was unlikely to be able to replenish its diminishing missile stocks.
Last Monday, the Russian President fired some 80 cruise missiles at cities across Ukraine, causing huge devastation, as well as killing and injuring many people.
The MoD said on Sunday: “Russia’s defence industry is probably incapable of producing advanced munitions at the rate they are being expended.
“These attacks represent a further degradation of Russia’s long-range missile stocks, which is likely to constrain their ability to strike the volume of targets they desire in future.”
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