Putin’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions on Sept 30 ignites schism within Kremlin – ISW

Putin’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions on Sept 30 ignites schism within Kremlin – ISW

The annexation by Russian President Vladimir Putin of four Ukrainian regions on September 30 provoked a split in the Kremlin, which is likely to intensify as Ukraine liberates new territories, according to a report by analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The drafters of the report refer to head of the Main Intelligence Agency of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov, who stated that Kremlin elites largely did not support Putin’s decision to annex Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions prior to securing those territories, prompting many officials to contact their Western counterparts to express their disinterest in continuing the war in Ukraine.

“These observations raise the possibility that hints from insiders of a Kremlin readiness to engage in serious negotiations may not reflect Putin’s own views or any decisions he has taken but may instead be part of efforts by those who have lost the internal argument with him to persuade the West and Ukraine to offer concessions in hopes of bringing him around to their point of view,” the report says.

Wagner Group financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin has been consistently referencing the factionalization within the Kremlin since, even explicitly stating that he is part of the “war until victory” faction. Prigozhin continues to accrue power and is setting up a military structure parallel to the Russian Armed Forces, which may come to pose a threat to Putin’s rule — at least within the information space. Russian sources reported that Prigozhin is sponsoring the formation of a Wagner-based volunteer battalion recruited by a Russian war criminal and former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Igor Girkin.

At the same time, the Kremlin continues an active information operation to accuse Ukraine of preparing a fake attack using a dirty bomb for the second day in a row.

Hurried Russian mobilization efforts to fix personnel shortages on the front lines have cannibalized the Russian force-generation staff and diminished Russia’s ability to effectively train and deploy new personnel and to staff domestic industries.

At the same time, the probability of ethnic conflicts in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continues to grow. So, analysts mention videos from social networks in which a Russian officer beats up a Muslim soldier for trying to pray at a certain time.

“While Russian milbloggers denied the authenticity of the footage, previous instances of violence along religious or ethnic lines, such as the shooting on Belgorod region training ground on October 15, indicate that such problems will intensify throughout time. Racial and religious tensions may also help explain Kadyrov’s relative quieting and Prigozhin’s apparent separation from him,” the report reads.

Russian forces are preparing for the defense of occupied Kherson, despite previously confirmed reports of the withdrawal of some Russian units. In addition, officials of the occupation administration turned off communication systems in Kherson, trying to restrict civilian communications about Russian positions to Ukrainian forces on the eve of the expected offensive of Ukraine.

Also, Ukrainian intelligence reported that as of October 24, Russian troops had not yet laid enough explosives for the complete destruction of the hydroelectric dam. The Russians may try to damage the upper part of the dam, including the road that runs through it, to prevent Ukrainian troops from following the retreating Russian troops if and when the Russians leave the western bank of Dnipro.

Fuente: interfax.com.ua

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