Espreso. Global

British intelligence assumes how Prigozhin's death would affect Wagner PMC

25 August, 2023 Friday
12:29

The alleged death of Wagner PMC leader Yevgeny Prigozhin will have a destabilizing effect on his mercenaries. There are no candidates who could lead the group

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This is stated in the British intelligence report.

"There is not yet definitive proof that Prigozhin was onboard and he is known to exercise exceptional security measures. However, it is highly likely that he is indeed dead," the report said.

"The demise of Prigozhin would almost certainly have a deeply destabilizing effect on the Wagner Group," they added.

His personal qualities of hyperactivity, exceptional audacity, focus on results, and extreme brutality, helped him lead the group, and it is unlikely that there will be a successor who would meet these criteria.

"Wagner’s leadership vacuum would be compounded by the reports that founder and field commander Dmitry Utkin and logistics chief Valery Chekalov also died," the review says.

Details regarding Prigozhin’s plane crash

On August 23, a business jet belonging to Yevgeny Prigozhin, an Embraer aircraft, crashed in Russia's Tver region, resulting in the confirmed deaths of 10 individuals. Among the passengers was Dmitry Utkin, a key figure in Wagner PMC. Multiple theories have emerged about the crash: 1) the plane might have been downed by an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system; 2) it could have been hit by air defense systems; 3) an explosion might have occurred onboard.

Subsequently, the Institute for the Study of War suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin might have ordered the assassination of Wagner PMC leader Yevgeny Prigozhin to reassert dominance and seek revenge.

One version from Russian media indicated that an explosive device was planted in the landing gear of the plane carrying Wagner PMC leader Yevgeny Prigozhin. This device would have detonated at a specific moment, leading to wing and stabilizer detachment.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that Ukraine was not involved in the plane's downing and made light of the situation by joking that such "aircraft assistance" wasn't what Ukraine had asked for.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speculated that after Prigozhin's probable death, Wagner operatives might continue to destabilize Belarus' neighboring countries.

In contrast, the United States believes that the aircraft, carrying passengers linked to Wagner PMC leadership, was likely shot down by a missile from within Russian territory.

The Russian leader also responded to Prigozhin's demise, referring to the Wagner leader as a figure with a complicated fate who achieved necessary results but also made significant mistakes.

ISW analysts believe that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's willingness to publicly kill Wagner's leadership is likely to prompt the PMC's Council of Commanders to refrain from publicly appointing successors to Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin

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