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ISW: Prigozhin ‘seemingly regaining some favor’ with Putin due to feeble winter offensive in Donbas
Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin is "seemingly regaining some favor" with Russian President Vladimir Putin due to the Russian conventional military's feeble winter offensive in Donbas, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said.
According to the ISW, the Russian private military company seems to be getting reinforcements, ammunition, and political recognition, in contrast to the Kremlin's "previous efforts to expend Wagner forces and Prigozhin in Bakhmut" since January 2023.
Putin's seemingly improved relations with the Wagner Group may also be due to his reluctance to bolster mobilization efforts and "signal a return to crypto mobilization."
On April 14, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported that Russia has stepped up its offensive of Bakhmut as the Russian regular army and paramilitary group Wagner have improved cooperation.
The same day, Prigozhin said that the "ideal option" would be for Russia to cease the active phase of the war and "firmly entrench" itself in Russian-occupied territories.
"The ideal option would be to announce the end of the conflict, to inform everyone that Russia has achieved the planned results, and in a sense, we have really achieved them," Prigozhin wrote.
Meanwhile, on April 17, two former mercenaries of the Wagner Group told Russian opposition media that they had killed dozens of Ukrainian civilians, including children, as well as prisoners of war while fighting in Donetsk Oblast.
Following the interviews, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office said it had started investigating the two ex-commanders for war crimes.