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ISW: Russian authorities unsure how to redefine Wagner’s role in war effort
Wagner Group’s founder Yevgeny Prigozhin maintains political leverage and regional influence despite his public disagreements with the Ministry of Defense, according to The Institute for the Study of War.
As some Krasnodar Krai officials attempted to distance themselves by allegedly reneging on the agreement to bury Wagner troops, Prigozhin used his political influence to get the governor to overrule the local officials' decision.
At the same time, the report said, “the destruction of Wagner forces near Bakhmut is likely forcing Prigozhin and Russian officials to reconsider the role of Wagner while Prigozhin works to rebuild his forces.” The possible considerations may include more oversight of Wagner Group from the Ministry of Defense based on “A Just Russia – for Truth” political party leader's statement cited by ISW.
The lack of a defined stance from Russian authorities provides Wagner’s leader with an opportunity to increase the media relevance of the group.
As the power struggle between Kremlin and Wagner continues, the Russian forces are advancing in and around Bakhmut, according to the D.C.-based think tank.
The advances come amid the increased tempo of operations near Avdiivka “in an effort to set conditions for the encirclement,” ISW said.