| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

Ukraine: Chaos in Russia works to our advantage

Ukraine officials declared on Saturday that chaos in Russia works to Kyiv’s favor, but it remains to be seen whether President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his army can capitalize on the chaos generated this weekend as mercenaries marched into Moscow.

Late Saturday, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a creator of the Wagner army, announced the end of his “march for justice” on Moscow following a settlement that exonerated him and his mercenaries from criminal charges. Prigozhin was also banished to Belarus as part of the agreement.

“Today the world saw that the masters of Russia do not control anything. Nothing at all. Just complete chaos,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address, urging Ukraine’s allies to use the moment and send more weapons to Kyiv.

The Prigozhin unrest, the biggest internal challenge to President Vladimir Putin as Russia’s paramount leader for 23 years, has spurred global security concerns and a frenzy of calls between Washington and its allies to coordinate actions.

“Any chaos behind the enemy lines works in our interests,” State-run Ukrinform news agency quoted Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba as saying on Saturday.

Putin called Prigozhin’s actions a “blow to Russia”, but there were no immediate signs his rule was threatened. The defence ministry, under the helm of Putin’s loyal ally Sergei Shoigu, remained silent throughout the weekend’s events.

Kuleba said it was too early to speak of consequences for Ukraine, but later in the day he held a call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss the events and Kyiv’s counteroffensive efforts.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement afterwards that Washington will stay “in close cooperation” with Kyiv as the situation develops.

Ukraine’s military reported on Saturday an offensive near villages ringing Bakhmut, which was taken by Wagner forces in May after months of fighting. Kyiv also claimed the liberation of Krasnohorivka village in Donetsk, but gains were incremental.

The counteroffensive has been in general “slower than desired”, Zelenskiy said recently.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, said on Saturday there was no immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from the frontline to Moscow.

“They … all remain in their places. They continue their resistance,” Ukrainian state media quoted Danilov as saying.

  • Reuters