Well, that was a weekend to remember

Scene in Rostov

In what was probably the most enthralling weekend since the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the collapse of the USSR (1991), events of this weekend again placed the Russian military, politics and intrigue squarely in front of the world. And like the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the USSR, so much could have gone wrong, but thankfully didn’t. All of the soldiers have returned to their barracks and the nukes are resting undisturbed in their silos.

So, to recap:

What happened?

Everybody knows that private military company Wagner Group fought alongside regular Russian troops and distinguished themselves in numerous battles, not least of which resulted in the capture of the Donbass city of Artyomovsk, known in Ukraine as Bakhmut.

The leader of Wagner is a chap named Evgeny Prigozhin who has been a very vocal critic of Russia’s top military, in particular, Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff. Prigozhin has repeatedly claimed the Russian military leadership have mishandled the military operation in Ukraine, deprived Wagner forces of ammunition and generally made a mess of every military tactic or strategy.

Then, a few days ago it was announced that Wagner forces would sign an agreement that would bring them under the direct control of the Russian military, but Prigozhin was blind-sided and refused to sign any such contract. Coupled with that, was the corresponding Russian military remark that Wagner funding was to be significantly cut.

This all culminated in an (apparent) attack on Wagner’s camp by Russian artillery coupled with attack helicopter air strikes resulting in, according to Prigozhin, significant losses of Wagner troops. Prigozhin was enraged and his forces commenced their march towards Rostov-on-Don with the ultimate ambition to march onwards to Moscow.

Then what?

Prigozhin declared his troops will march with the rather grandly named “March of Justice”. Meanwhile, the Russian Federal Security Service accused Prigozhin of inciting a rebellion and opened a criminal case against him. Then on Saturday in a national video address to the nation, the visibly angry President of Russia Vladimir Putin, said that Prigozhin actions were ‘stabbing our people and nation in the back’, ‘betrayal’ and ‘treasonous’.

Of course, from that point, the rumour and speculation mill went into turbocharged overdrive. Some of the stories were utterly ridiculous whilst others were either factual or had some basis in fact but like all good games of Chinese whispers, some ‘facts’ were eventually transformed into absurdity.

It should be noted that the civilian and other authorities were not idle. Anti-terrorism measures were enacted in Moscow and other cities, public events were cancelled in several cities and traffic on major highways was suspended.

It is fair to say that tensions were very high – made worse by news that Wagner forces had shot down three Russian military helicopters and that (infamous) Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov was already sending his forces north to Rostov-on-Don to confront the Wagner forces. Video footage of at least one burning helicopter and truckloads of Chechen soldiers mobilising was shown on numerous media sites.

This was an incredibly dangerous flashpoint. Just imagine – Chechen fighters confronting (mostly) ethnic Russian soldiers (Wagner) on Russian soil.

Needless to say, the Ukrainian leadership were cock-a-hoop at the turn of events and responded gleefully with some (very subtle) offering of support to Prigozhin. Anything that assists a coup in Russia would be a bonus for them.

Whimper not bang

A fuel depot was destroyed but the Russians (reputedly) did that themselves to prevent Wagner re-fuelling. In addition, the fate of the crews of the Russian military helicopters is not known but we can assume they are injured, if not dead. A building occupied by the FSB in Rostov was also damaged with reports of one fatality. However, and with respect to those who are deceased, these incidents can be considered minor compared to the potential outcome of a full-scale battle involving the Russian military, Kadyrov’s Chechen forces and Wagner through the streets of Rostov.

On Saturday evening as most of us were going to bed, Belarusian President Lukashenko struck a deal with Prigozhin that Wagner would end its attempt at insurrection in exchange for safe passage for Prigozhin to Belarus, the dropping of charges against Prigozhin and that Wagner forces would return to their barracks. Further, Wagner forces would not face any consequent retribution.

So, the deal was done and within an hour or two, Wagner forces began their withdrawal. At the time of writing, all Wagner forces have returned to their barracks and Prigozhin is, presumably, enjoying some nalistniki (thin pancakes) and a glass or two of champagne in a safe location in Minsk.


This topic will be a separate post in itself but to summarise, it is crystal clear that Putin was uber mindful of the implications of a ‘Russian-on-Russian’ fight. In other words, images of Russians killing Russians on the news could easily stir up consequent events that may be difficult or impossible to quell.

This fear was expressed in Putin’s address to the nation early on Saturday where he remarked that he would never allow Russia to descend into events that mirrored 1917. In his address he said that a “blow like this was dealt to Russia in 1917….. and the nation turned into the greatest turmoil, the destruction of the army and the collapse of the state, and the loss of vast territories, ultimately leading to the tragedy of the civil war.”

Therefore, while many commentators envisaged a wholesale military showdown between Wagner and Russian forces and even the potential for a civil war, Putin had no intention of allowing events to head down that path.

We now know that it was Putin that authorised Lukashenko to make the peace deal. Lukashenko did not act unilaterally. I suspect that the deal may also see the sacking of Defence Minister Shoigu and chief-of-staff Gerasimov although those outcomes may not happen immediately (but I think their ‘card is marked’). What happens to the Wagner troops is less clear although it is likely that some will be subsumed into the regular Russian military and while others will just disappear back to Africa.

As for Prigozhin, well, who knows. His biggest problem is that he remains a beacon that cannot be allowed to shine brightly again. It is also clear that the support he thought he had failed to substantially materialise. What’s more, in his 30-minute video rant before the “March of Justice” began, Prigozhin made a curious remark.

Just a few weeks ago Prigozhin had been calling for full mobilization in order to defeat Ukraine and put down the threat of NATO but in his rant on Friday night said that “the Armed Forces of Ukraine were not going to attack Russia in conjunction with NATO.” Which of course begs the question, what changed?

I will examine this issue and numerous other aftermath elements in another post but I will make one final observation.

Russian politics is never what it seems. Under normal circumstances we would assume that Prigozhin would be a ‘dead man walking’ and will mysteriously ingest some polonium 210, but it isn’t that straight forward. Prigozhin was very powerful in the Kremlin and Putin and Prigozhin have been close allies for decades. Prigozhin had his own power base which is still powerful notwithstanding his exile to Belarus.

Putin is the ultimate puppet-master and he must neuter Prigozhin’s power base before making any move (if he does at all) but doing so may come at another price. Meanwhile, the conflict in Ukraine drags on.

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June 26, 2023 7:36 am

The US knew about this several days in advance apparently. Did Prigozhin take a bribe and swindle them? If he is now in Belarus, will he launch attacks from there or just enjoy his early retirement?

Mak Siccar
Mak Siccar
June 26, 2023 7:56 am

Another point of view.


Russia: ‘Let’s see who’s alive in the morning’
By Monica Showalter
The insurrection of the Wagner PMC Russian mercenaries threatening to take Moscow ended with a fizzle.

After taking over at least military facilities of Rostov and Voronezh, and marching to within 124 miles of Moscow, their piratical leader, Yevgeny Prigoshin, suddenly announced they’d all turn back, being concerned with bloodshed and all, which nobody believes.


June 26, 2023 8:51 am

Thanks Speedbox for your outstanding post.

Forget the MSM just rely on Speedbox to give us informed commentary on the situation re Russia.

June 26, 2023 9:26 am

After taking over at least military facilities of Rostov and Voronezh, and marching to within 124 miles of Moscow, their piratical leader, Yevgeny Prigoshin, suddenly announced they’d all turn back, being concerned with bloodshed and all, which nobody believes.

Putin acted out of weakness.

I suspect the Russian army either wasn’t willing to or wasn’t capable of preventing Prigozhin from entering Moscow. Hence the last minute deal.

Shoigu and Gerasimov will go, but so too might Putin, particularly if there are more mutinies in the army.

June 26, 2023 9:31 am

Id speculate vast sums of money have changed hands.
Id be avoiding pre cooked smallgoods, especially poloni sandwiches.

It is interesting, but I struggle to make heads of tails of it. It shows Putin as weaker than he projects and further ruins the reputation of the Russian armed forces as a professional army.

But does it make Putin more or less likely to cut a deal to end the war?
If he “settles” for now he will be able to focus on internal security, but may be accused of weakness by not defeating Ukraine.
If however he continues the war hes trying to look strong, but absent a major collapse of Ukraine forces may bleed authority the longer it goes on.

June 26, 2023 9:37 am
Rufus T Firefly
Rufus T Firefly
June 26, 2023 9:50 am

The fact that Prigozhin was “friends” with Putin, is the only reason he is still alive.

For months, he has been acting like a spoilt child, accusing Gerasimov and Shoigu in particular, of withholding supplies and dereliction of duty etc.
That this was allowed to continue, has resulted in the present farce, which thankfully, has not led to large scale violence.

Whilst Wagner has performed relatively efficiently on the battlefield, with the essential support of artillery and Air Power from the Russian Defence Force, (Wagner does not have this capability), they were NOT the only force in action.
The claims of being “starved” of ammunition by Shoigu are ridiculous and only show that Prigozhin is a CEO, not a military commander.

He has made many powerful enemies and his wealth is unlikely to protect him, wherever he resides.

Old Goat
Old Goat
June 26, 2023 9:52 am

This was a major psyops operation . Russia got to move a lot of men and tanks without getting hit in transit . Something big is coming . Look a squirrel….

June 26, 2023 10:00 am

But does it make Putin more or less likely to cut a deal to end the war?
If he “settles” for now he will be able to focus on internal security, but may be accused of weakness by not defeating Ukraine.

The smart way around that is to declare victory in terms of the war aims being achieved.

Cue the parades of patriotic veterans in Red Square.

June 26, 2023 10:32 am


Another detailed update from

Nuclear Falseflag on Zaporozhye NPP Heats Up + Major Wagner Updates and More

26 JUN 2023

Good assessment & Explanation of the Wagner Situation

Shy Ted
Shy Ted
June 26, 2023 10:35 am

The ABC tell us he’s “banished” to Belarus. The horror!

June 26, 2023 11:02 am

What was all the fuss about? This was nothing compared to January 6th!

June 26, 2023 11:02 am

What?! No detailed analysis by munty?!

Boambee John
Boambee John
June 26, 2023 11:35 am


The Fat Fascist Fool is too busy dosing up on Copium and Seethium.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
June 26, 2023 11:49 am

It had a flavour of Xenophon, who with his 10,000 mercenaries went off to fight the Persian emperor in an attempted coup by the emperor’s brother Cyrus.

Cyrus then faceplanted in a very fatal and embarrassing manner, which left the Greek mercenaries deep in Persia without a patron, and surrounded by thousands of irate Persians (including Cyrus’s guys who reverted to the Emperor.)

Xenophon survived this fiasco, and the march of the Greeks through charlie country to get themselves out is an epic tale. Prigozhin doesn’t seem to be cut from the same grade of bronze, but who knows? We’ll see over the next while whether he and his guys survive or not.

June 26, 2023 12:32 pm

Xenophon survived this fiasco, and the march of the Greeks through charlie country to get themselves out is an epic tale.

The retreat from Kabul didnt go so well either, albeit the regimental Dr was on of the few survivors – ‘reaching Jalalabad on an exhausted pony’.


June 26, 2023 12:49 pm

Many thanks, Speedbox. Your account is one of few I have allowed myself to read this year about the Russia-Ukraine conflict and by far the least untrustworthy.

Most of what gets published by the Australian MSM is uninformed speculation coloured by the media’s enthusiam for running with the global left-wing mob, which, for example, excuses the financial corruption of the Biden family in Ukraine, Russia and China.

Everything we read is to be taken with a grain of salt, but Cats have the advantage that Speedbox has already established his reputation for honesty and knowledge of Russia, to which he regularly travels.

June 26, 2023 12:59 pm

The retreat from Kabul didnt go so well either

“Alexandria” by Edmund Richardson is worth a read.. though the British East India Company’s misguided foray into Afghanistan is but a footnote.

Simple Simon
Simple Simon
June 26, 2023 1:05 pm

Putin is the ultimate puppet-master

And perhaps it was Western governments and their trained-seal media who were taken in by some masterful puppetry.

Prigozhin truly went against Putin?
Time will tell.

June 26, 2023 1:11 pm

I suspect that NATOstan made Prigozhin an offer he couldn’t refuse.

I also suspect he thought he had more support than he actually did….

In the end, he and the Wagner group are mercenaries.
This means they have no loyalty and will ultimately work for whoever pays the most.

Given the arse kicking the U.S. and NATO have received in Ukraine, it would make perfect sense for them to attempt to bribe a mercenary coup out of the situation.

More information will come out in due course I’m sure.

June 26, 2023 1:25 pm

Here’s a story about the shooting down of an IL-22. However, other stories from Slavyangrad have this as an IL-18. Here’s the result.

Anything up to 20 Russian airmen have died at the hands of Wagner PMC in the course of a coup attempt. I suspect it will be necessary to at least bring those directly responsible to trial. Prigozhin has secured his own amnesty and safety as the price of avoiding greater bloodshed, but if no-one in the PMC is punished for this sedition, it will reflect very poorly on Putin.

June 26, 2023 2:23 pm

It is possible that this is more complicated picture than it looks?

Say Russia knew about CIA playing in the field and attempting to bribe folks, why not let them do just that. (the presence of CIA et al in Russia and vice versa is well established)

Then, take their money and do something else anyway.

I wonder if anyone in Russia is US$6.5B richer today?

Is it naive to think everyone plays in simple checkers/twitter style manner that the western media likes to reduce eveything to?

“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” BillieS

June 26, 2023 2:32 pm

June 26, 2023 at 9:26 am
Putin acted out of weakness.

Mercenaries are generally used as cannon foder and do the dirty work.

Without them I’m wondering about Russian public reaction to increased casualties of the conscripts.

June 26, 2023 2:36 pm

Putin acted out of weakness.

I suspect the Russian army either wasn’t willing to or wasn’t capable of preventing Prigozhin from entering Moscow. Hence the last minute deal.

Shoigu and Gerasimov will go, but so too might Putin, particularly if there are more mutinies in the army.

I don’t understand this ‘Putin acted out of weakness’ line. If Putin had the weak hand, why isn’t Prigozhin now sitting in the Kremlin? If the RusMoD wasn’t willing or capable of preventing Prigozhin from entering Moscow why did they not cutting a deal with Prigozhin? Moreover, given that Prigozhin’s beef was largely with the Russian military, its senior officials had more to lose and the least leverage.

June 26, 2023 2:47 pm

“Putin acted out of weakness.

Really, then why is Prigozhin still alive?

Or if the other way, why is Putin Still Alive?

This is not some simple western sitcom like Selenskiy thinks he is playing in.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
June 26, 2023 3:05 pm

Moreover, given that Prigozhin’s beef was largely with the Russian military

Partly. He certainly has been pissed off with Shoigu and Gerasimov for a long time, from not getting the ammo and support that he requested during the Bakhmut assault.

On the other hand the thing that seems to’ve ignited this fiasco is the order to incorporate all PMC guys into the Russian armed forces, and to abolish the PMCs themselves. Now that makes sense for the formations in Russia and Ukraine, but Wagner has a lot of business elsewhere. Like Africa and even Syria. If Wagner were to be dissolved those guys would be left hanging in several countries. Likewise they would not be accepted by the Russian military – the Wagner units in Mali and CAR for example aren’t something that Putin would really want to have on the books, it’s far away and irrelevant, with only reputational downside if Russian state forces were on the ground supporting the Mali and CAR juntas.

So in steps Lukashenko and offers an out for Prigozhin, which theoretically lets him keep his PMC contracts going in all those countries PLUS offers a way for his guys to get out of Russia and keep their jobs. Pretty good dealmaking from Luka, it looks like. Plus it delivers what Putin wants, ie that all the PMCs in Russia and Ukraine are brought under command of the RGS.

A rump-Wagner will not be based in Belarus, Putin would never allow that. But as a first point of call on a great trek to somewhere else it serves.

We’ll see how it turns out, but there’s enough for both sides to be happy with the outcome. Or at least not too unhappy. The joker in the pack is whether Putin siccs his black ops guys onto Prigozhin. I suspect he’ll give it an interval for things to settle before he does that though.

June 26, 2023 3:13 pm

American Resurrection

Biden’s Foreign Policy? War.

The Biden administration deliberately provoked the Ukraine war and is doing everything it can to keep it going.

21 JUN 2023

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a speech last Friday in Finland in which he dismissed the idea of a ceasefire in the Ukraine conflict and called for further transfers of high-tech weaponry and aircraft to Ukraine.

Blinken’s speech highlights once again that the Biden administration has no intention of ending this conflict peacefully.

The plan, which members of the administration and foreign policy establishment have explicitly admitted on numerous occasions, is to use Ukraine to achieve the larger geopolitical goal of weakening Russia.

In other words, the Ukrainians are cannon fodder in a U.S. proxy war against Russia.

Blinken’s statement is consistent with reports in Foreign Affairs magazine last September citing numerous American former security officials that Russia and Ukraine had actually reached a tentative peace agreement in April 2022.

That deal was scuttled after Boris Johnson, doubtless at the behest of the Biden administration, visited Kyiv on April 9.

Later, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who was trying to mediate between Putin and Zelensky, stated that the US and its allies blocked his mediation efforts.

The pattern here is clear. Not only is the administration deceiving the American people about the motives for this costly and tragic war, but by continually escalating it they put the whole world at risk of nuclear conflagration.

Even by the standards of the Neocons who engineered this war, it is not going well.

The “spring counteroffensive” is a pathetic failure. I’m waiting to see how the administration will sugarcoat this calamity to shore up dwindling support for this disastrous misadventure, one in a long series of forever wars.

I call upon President Biden to issue two apologies. First, to the American people for misleading them into supporting an ugly proxy war on false pretenses. Second and more importantly, to the Ukrainian people for maneuvering them into this war and ruining their country, all for the sake of U.S. (imagined) geopolitical interests.

I also call upon President Biden and the world to heed the advice of John F. Kennedy in his 1963 Peace Speech, when he said:

“Nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war.”

June 26, 2023 3:17 pm

Mercenaries are generally used as cannon foder and do the dirty work.

Without them I’m wondering about Russian public reaction to increased casualties of the conscripts.

bespoke, Wagner largely operated in Bahkmut. They aren’t in the south or north were Ukraine and Russian are in the middle of operations and reports don’t indicate anything beyond what you would expect casualty-wise.

June 26, 2023 3:43 pm

Dodging A Bullet In Russia


We’re Lucky Putin Still Runs Russia

Before Belarusian President Lukashenko negotiated a resolution to Wagner PMC chief Evgeny Prigozhin’s abortive mutiny, neocons and other Putin opponents in the West were gleeful at the prospect of Putin’s demise. Venture capitalist David Sacks pointed out why they were wrong to wish for Putin’s downfall:

What’s better: negotiated peace or nuclear chaos?

It looks like the crisis in Russia is abating after many premature predictions, dunks, and celebrations. We’ve come to expect such behavior from mids like [former Congressman and liberal gadfly Adam] Kinzinger, but the participation of so many more serious American policy makers and influencers shows the extent to which they have lost perspective.

They expressed glee over the possibility of a coup in the world’s largest nuclear weapons state by a warlord whose main gripe is that Russia has not prosecuted the war vigorously enough, who advocates full mobilization and total war, and is more likely to countenance nuclear use.

I can understand why Ukrainian nationalists — who are desperate to win the war in light of a counteroffensive that even CNN admitted yesterday is thus-far failing — would be willing to roll the dice and root for chaos and civil war in Russia. But for American leaders to do so shows that they have lost any conception of a distinct American national interest.

What the last 24 hours have underscored is that wars are not just incredibly destructive but also incredibly unpredictable. I continue to maintain that it was in the best interest of the United States to avoid this by supporting the Istanbul deal. It would have cost us nothing except an agreement not to add Ukraine to NATO. In fact, this would not have been a cost but a benefit, saving ourselves from the insanity of committing American boys & girls to fight Russia one day on Ukraine’s behalf.

Now the war seems likely to enter an even more desperate stage for both Russia and Ukraine. Is this what we want? History proves that things can always get worse. ISIS was worse than Saddam, Lenin was worse than the Tsar, and Prigozhin could have been worse than Putin. Do we want to keep rolling the dice? Or do we want to figure out how to bring the killing to an end?

Sacks was right about the obvious risks involved in destabilizing the country with the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, but like many other Western observers, he seems to feel compelled to vilify Vladimir Putin, in ways that are both inaccurate and unhelpful to the prospect of future diplomacy.

An Objective Assessment Of Putin

As our friend Benjamin Braddock noted on Twitter, despite Sachs putting Putin in the same category as Lenin and Saddam Hussein, Putin is actually a moderate in the Russian political context.

Braddock made another excellent point as well, that we’re lucky America’s attempt at a color revolution in Belarus failed.

What Braddock wrote about Putin being a moderate is true, but Putin has also been the best leader for Russians in at least a century. A few statistics illustrate how much better off Russians are since Putin came to power in 1999.

Putin As A Force For Tolerance

Since racism (and antisemitism) are the worst sins in the West, Western critics sometimes dishonestly claim Putin is a racist, but in fact he has presided over a multiethnic, multiconfessional empire in a way that’s largely been inclusive rather than divisive. In some ways, Russia has handled its diversity better than the U.S. has.

Putin’s Restraint

It may seem odd to write about Putin’s restraint when we’re 16 months into an invasion of the Ukraine that he launched, but it’s worth noting how he has so far eschewed retaliating against Western provocations such as the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines.

Consider how many potential targets for retaliation the United Kingdom alone has in the North Sea.

If Putin were the maniac some in the West claim he was, the Ukraine War would have spiraled into World War III months ago.

Hopefully, our leaders won’t press our luck and will instead return to diplomacy and negotiate an end to the war.

June 26, 2023 3:57 pm

Comments – https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2023-06-24/dodging-bullet-russia

WebCam brings back Fond Memories of being in St Petersburg Sep 2018

Watched a video of someone walking down the streets of St. Petersberg a couple nights ago. Lots of pretty young gals dressed nicely. I looked close and could not find one of them with a tramp stamp tattoo. No rings thru the cheeks or nose. No purple died hair. Reminded me of what America was back in the 60s and 70s. Normal.

10 hours ago

Indieed. For instance: https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/russia/saint-petersburg/metro-gostiny-dvor.html

June 26, 2023 4:25 pm

Shaiiiiiiiguuu might not be resigning, if he’s making public appearances and frontline visits before the dust even settled.
Quote Tweet

Pierre Davide Borrelli
The Russian Defense Ministry says Shoigu visited a command center in Ukraine.

Well well well.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
June 26, 2023 4:46 pm

Lot of stuff on the nets to explain Shoigu’s loyalty to Putin. He comes from a tiny place far to the east.
Gerasimov I haven’t read so much about but he’s been firm in carrying out his orders.
I think the orders have been stupid, but a general officer makes the best of the orders he gets, and with the units and assets that he has.

June 26, 2023 6:31 pm

Forget the MSM just rely on Speedbox to give us informed commentary on the situation re Russia.

No way! I rely on Sky News and their expert commentators like Jackie Lambie:

June 26, 2023 6:33 pm

Just watched a Patrick Lancaster video of Wagner leaving Rostov just after the crisis. The people were cheering Wagner and even chanting “Wagner” at one point. They just love them. The rock stars of the Russian forces. They also voiced their support for Putin and the Russian army when interviewed. Make of that what you will.

June 26, 2023 7:25 pm

a Patrick Lancaster video of Wagner leaving Rostov just after the crisis

Thanks jupes – that was hilarious. Loved the two blonde goils, “you’re just trying to pick us up!”

June 26, 2023 8:48 pm

He [Prigozhin] certainly has been pissed off with Shoigu and Gerasimov for a long time, from not getting the ammo and support that he requested during the Bakhmut assault.

He complained about this for months during the Bakhmut campaign. At the same time, reports were that Russian forces were expending five times or more artillery ammunition than the Ukrainians, and NATo was scouring the world for ammo – 152mm for the legacy Russian artillery, which they took from all the former Warsaw Pact members who were now in the non-expansionary NATO, and 155mm for the Western artillery. NATO members states exhausted their own arsenals, and the US went to Israel, South Korea and Japan for stocks of 155mm.

At the same time, NATO and the US discovered that the West no longer had the manufacturing capacity to feed Ukraine’s appetite for shells, but that Russia’s ammunition manufacturing was pretty healthy, but not enough to feed the SMO. So Russia also had a shortfall between consumption and production.

When the counter-offensive started, the Russian front-lines came under very heavy artillery bombardment preceding the armour and infantry attacks. This is still the pattern, although there is a more conservative approach to the use of armour after the unsustainable rate of losses in the first couple of weeks. Troops are cheaper and the photos are not as bad for PR.

The conclusion is that artillery ammunition was being husbanded for the counter-offensive, and the troops in Bakhmut and other hot-spots just had to make do.

Russian general staff were able to add and subtract as they observed the preparations for the Ukrainian offensive. In this enlightening post, a commentator makes this observation about the situation on the Zaporozhye front.

I cannot believe that Ukraine’s military leadership has seriously decided to attempt to gnaw on the quality echeloned defences of our troops in the Zaporozhye direction, especially given that our artillerymen are no longer experiencing a shell famine on the critical scale that they were before, which allows them to destroy the enemy before they even enter combat.

So Prigozhin’s antics were all part of a social media public relations campaign aimed at increasing his influence at the expense of the Russian military establishment, or parts of it. When he and Wagner were sidelined for the Ukrainian offensive, and the spotlight fell instead on regular echelons, he pulled this stunt.

According to John Helmer (and make of it what you will):

The rebellion, according to sources speaking on Saturday evening, involved advance planning by Prigozhin and several hundred of the lowest ranks of his military group. There was no support among the Wagner officers. After they had moved on Rostov, then took the road to Voronezh and on towards Moscow, the road columns numbered several hundred, with a total across the southwest of no more than four thousand.

That’s more like it. There were never 25,000 Wagner troops on the move.

Bruce of Newcastle
Bruce of Newcastle
June 27, 2023 7:26 am

Pretty good article today about one of the more amazing aspects of this fiasco:

How has Lukashenko gone from Putin’s lackey to kingpin holding the keys to power? (26 Jun)

Focuses on the fast dealmaking Lukashenko did to settle down Prigozhin and Wagner, but I’d add a few more diplomatic highlights:

– he managed to get Putin to give him nuclear weapons(!)
– he walked a fine line in avoiding being pulled into the war
– he’s avoided Belarus getting taken over by Russia instead of Ukraine
– he managed to keep power after the protests in 2020 after the election

Maybe I should’ve said “election” since it was reminiscent of a certain other 2020 election.

On the other hand Lukashenko’s health appears to be a bit fragile, so while he has been successful in staving off the Russians in the medium term he may not be around that much longer.

June 27, 2023 7:33 am

What a brilliant analysis by Speedbox & thoughtful contributions by others. This is why I (& no doubt others) am a regular reader of the newcatallaxy blog.

Johnny rotten
June 27, 2023 3:45 pm

The whole thing was a storm in a tea cup. But wait, there will be more. Watch this space and the UKR watch out………

June 27, 2023 6:51 pm
June 27, 2023 7:14 pm

What a brilliant analysis by Speedbox & thoughtful contributions by others.

Agree entirely. Credit to Jupes for the Manchester video which was very informative.

The West comes out as dominated by liars.

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