In a recent analysis, the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, described [Wagner Group founder, Yevgeniy] Prigozhin’s Bakhmut effort as “irrelevant operationally” after Russia’s loss of Izyum, 60 miles north.
“The Russian seizure of Bakhmut, which is unlikely to occur considering Russian forces have impaled themselves on tiny surrounding settlements for weeks, would no longer support any larger effort to accomplish the original objectives of this phase of the campaign,” the report concluded, “since it would not be supported by an advance from Izyum in the north.”
Prigozhin, who is nicknamed Putin’s chef because he grew fabulously wealthy off of government catering contracts, has been a loud critic of the regular Russian military’s performance in Ukraine. His involvement in the Ukraine war is seen by analysts as part of his effort to curry favor and potentially additional state contracts. There is also speculation among the Russian elite that he is angling for a government post. [Continue reading…]