Ukraine facing ‘ugly reality’ on battlefield after Prigozhin’s death – expert

Russia: Footage allegedly shows crash site of jet carrying Prigozhin

Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death spells “bad news” on the Ukrainian battlefield and an “ugly reality” for the West, an ex-intelligence officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency has claimed.

The shadowy warning comes as Russian authorities on Sunday confirmed the death of Prigozhin, who was on board a plane that crashed between Moscow and St. Petersburg last week.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the Wagner chief’s untimely death, however, it’s widely believed that Vladimir Putin played a hand, given the suspicious timing.

The brutal mercenary leader appeared to have escaped any retribution for the rebellion he led two months prior that posed the greatest challenge to Putin’s authority in his 23-year rule.

The world may never get to the bottom of what happened to Prigozhin but his death will nonetheless send “immense reverberations” through Ukraine as the war-torn country attempts to repel Russian forces from its land, according to Matt Shoemaker, ex-Intelligence Officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Read more Ukraine ‘nears significant breakthrough’ in counteroffensive push

“The bad news for Ukraine is that Prigozhin’s death means Russia’s war in Ukraine is likely to continue the grinding war of attrition,” he told Daily Express US.

Mr Shoemaker believes Prigozhin’s rebellion in June showed the first serious threat to the survival of the Russian regime since Putin took office.

“Had Prigozhin succeeded in removing top Kremlin officials, it’s quite possible the war in Ukraine could have come to an early end,” the ex-DIA officer explained.

However, with the Wagner chief now out of the picture, Putin can redouble his efforts in Ukraine, Mr Shoemaker warned.

He explained: “The ugly reality for the West is that there are few moments in history where one can point to and note that that moment changed human history: Prigozhin’s death is one of them.

“Prigozhin had positioned himself to be the most likely successor to Putin when Putin eventually leaves office. However, with his savagery and brutality, Prigozhin in many ways was the repository and expression of the most virulent hatreds that have corroded the human spirit.

“His savagery was in many ways Stalinesque as he fetishized the brutal murders of Ukrainians and Russians alike. If he had become Russia’s leader, it would have been an extraordinarily dangerous development indeed.”

Given how barbarically he treated his countrymen let alone his enemies, no one will lose sleep over Prigozhin’s death, the former DIA officer noted.

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However, “Putin has once again removed another threat to his power as he has so many times before in his 24-year reign”, Mr Shoemaker said.

“Ukraine will still have to fight on for its survival like it has for the past year and a half. Prigozhin’s death changes little in the short-term day-to-day operations of this war but will have immense reverberations through history.”

As if to prove a point, Russian forces struck a cafe in a key front-line area in northeastern Ukraine within days of the Wagner chief’s death, killing two civilians and wounding a third, regional officials said.

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