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ISW: Russian information space incoherent after reports of fighting in Belgorod Oblast
The Russian information space experienced "panic, factionalism, and incoherency" after reports of fighting in Russia's Belgorod Oblast, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest report.
Following Russia’s announcement of "counter-terrorist operation" in Belgorod Oblast, the military bloggers speculated about the purpose guiding the raids reportedly led by Free Russia Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps.
The lack of the united response, according to the D.C.-based think tank, "indicates first and foremost that the attack took Russian commentators by surprise."
At the same time, the information space emphasized the military victory following Russia’s occupation of Bakhmut, omitting comments on its strategic implications or the possibility of Ukrainian forces encircling the city.
Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said that his forces will pass the control over Bakhmut to Russian conventional forces on May 25. Then, the Wagner Group will "withdraw from the entire frontline in Ukraine after June 1 in order to reconstitute and train for about two months," the report said.