Russia suffers from ‘large-scale weakness’, says Ukraine’s Zelensky of Wagner mutiny

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it was clear Russia was suffering from “large-scale weakness” after mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin launched an armed rebellion.

Zelenskyy said in comments posted to his Telegram channel on Saturday that “anyone who chooses the path of evil destroys themselves.”

He said that “for a long time Russia used propaganda to mask its weakness and the stupidity of its government. And now there is so much chaos that no lie can hide it.

“Russia’s weakness is obvious. Large-scale weakness,” Zelenskyy said. “And the longer Russia keeps its troops and mercenaries on our land, the more chaos, pain and problems it will have later. This is also obvious.”

The dramatic developments come exactly 16 months after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II, killing tens of thousands, displacing millions and reducing cities in ruins.

WATCH | The Wagner uprising could reveal the weakness of Putin’s regime:

How a Brief Mercenary Uprising Could Reveal Putin’s Regime’s Weakness

If Russian President Vladimir Putin is unable to regain his strength after Wagner’s private army fighters briefly set out on a march on Moscow, it could become “a weakness that will be exploited, one way or another.” on the other, by factions in Russia that have feared him in the past,” according to Aurel Braun, professor of political science at the University of Toronto.

The rebellion by Prigozhin and his private Wagner Group militia comes as Kiev forces probed Russian defenses in the early stages of a counteroffensive.

Ukrainian officials hope Russian internal fighting will create opportunities for their military to retake territory seized by Russian forces, with Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar writing on Telegram on Saturday that the “political crisis” in Russia offers Kyiv a “window of opportunity”.

In fact, the Ukrainian army said on Saturday that its forces had advanced near the eastern town of Bakhmut – a key battleground on the eastern front captured by Wagner’s forces in May after months of fighting – and in an area more to the south.

Maliar said an offensive was launched near a cluster of villages surrounding Bakhmut.

“In all of these areas, we have made progress,” Maliar wrote.

Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, commander of the Tavria, or Southern Front, said Ukrainian forces had liberated an area near Krasnohorivka, west of the Donetsk regional center, from Russian control. He said the area had been under Russian control since Moscow-backed separatist forces seized it in 2014.

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