Ukraine-Russia War: The Russian army fighting a decisive battle in eastern Ukraine appears to be tearing apart amid changes in the leadership of the Russian military in Ukraine. On the one hand, Russian troops have claimed to have captured the eastern Ukrainian stronghold of Soledar, while on the other hand, their own troops have made the war more brutal by going door-to-door. Elsewhere, a battle at the top level of military power unfolds in Moscow, with President Vladimir Putin shuffling top commanders while rival camps proclaim victory for an old general stationed in Ukraine.
The fighting near the eastern Ukrainian salt-mining towns of Soledar and Bakhmut has also exposed a bitter rift between the leadership of the Russian Defense Ministry and Yevgeny Prigozhin, a rogue millionaire. Yevgeny Prigozhin’s private military force, known as the Wagner Group, has increasingly shown its role in the war in Ukraine.
Russian President Putin ordered a change in military leadership this week. This supports the fact that even after 11 months of the war, the Ministry of Defense is working at his behest.
Meanwhile, Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed on Wednesday that his mercenaries had captured the town of Soledar, which Ukrainian officials rejected. In addition, Yevgeny Prigozhin also announced that the Wagner Group had won a prize from the Ministry of Defense. The Ministry of Defense has also rejected its claim that it described the actions of airborne troops and other forces in the Battle of Soledar.
Prigozhin, 61, who was known as “Putin’s chef” for his lucrative catering contracts and for interfering in the 2016 presidential election in the U.S. have expanded their holdings to include Wagner, as well as mining and other areas. Prigozhin strongly criticized Russian army officers for blunders in the Ukraine War, saying that his Wagner Group was more skilled than Russia’s regular army.