Prigozhin found a new target for PMC "Wagner" and bullies Shoigu: ISW explained the trick
Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Russian private company Vagner, took advantage of the general dissatisfaction of Russians with the security issues on the border of the Belgorod region. He threatened that his mercenaries, who had just left Bakhmut, might go to "defend" Belgorod even without permission from the military command.
Putin's cook escalated his dispute with the Russian Defense Ministry, probably hoping to deflect criticism from himself and maintain an active initiative in infospace after the alleged "capture" of Bakhmut and the subsequent withdrawal of the PMC from there. This was pointed out by analysts of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW)
Thus, Prigozhin stated that the Wagner group would not wait for an invitation or permission from Shoigu to "defend" the Belgorod region if the RF Ministry of Defense "fails to deal with the security threat to the region. He justified his threats of insubordination to the command by saying that the "Wagnerites" allegedly seek to "protect" the Russian people. In particular, he promised that his PMC will take on the role of the so-called protector of the border, which should be performed by the Defense Ministry.
"Prigozhin's threats are based on complaints from other prominent figures in the Russian information space that Russian authorities have not done enough to protect the border territories from the consequences of the war, and reflect Prigozhin's current loss of information initiative," ISW assessed this.
They also believe that the statements of the Wagnerian leader also indicate that he may seek to make his mercenaries take primary or exclusive responsibility for the axis on the border at a time when they have stepped back from that role near Bakhmut in Donetschina. It is possible that Prigozhin may view the Belgorod-Ukrainian border as a fairly easy front line to defend, since volunteer raids on Russian territory have so far occurred on an extremely limited scale.
According to analysts, the deployment of Wagner forces on the border with Belgorod would allow Prigozhin to maintain his position as commander of the frontline forces without exhausting demands for human wave style attacks on the heavily fortified Ukrainian city.
"His apparent threat to launch such a military operation, even a defensive one, on Russian territory without permission from the Ministry of Defense is surprising, if anything other than flamboyant rhetoric. This means that Prigozhin considers himself capable of using large military forces loyal to him at his own discretion and beyond the control of the actual Russian military," ISW pointed out.
Analysts stressed that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin would have to have great confidence in Prigozhin's personal loyalty to himself in order to feel comfortable in such a situation.
As OBOZREVATEL reported, the Russians had not had time to move on from the previous "bavovna" in the territory of Belgorod region, as the fighters of the Russian volunteer corps announced a new raid on June 3. They also named their main task.