KYIV, June 26 (AP) The armed insurgency against Russian troops may be over in less than 24 hours, but chaos among the enemy ranks has been an unexpected gift for Ukrainian troops, a timely morale boost
The mutiny at Yevgeny Prigozhin’s key military command and control center in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don and the subsequent scramble by Russian troops to bolster Moscow’s defenses in an effort to overthrow the country’s military leadership have been celebrated by Russia The “applause” of the army commander. Serhii Cherevatiy, a spokesman for Ukraine’s eastern forces, said.
“Soldiers on the front line are positive about it,” he said. “Any confusion and disorder on the enemy side will be in our favor.”
A video of a prominent Ukrainian drone commander known as “Magyar” watching the uprising while eating tons of popcorn has gone viral.
With gleeful memes mocking Russian leader Vladimir Putin flooding social media, a statement from top Ukraine said the unrest was a sure sign of more instability to come.
For now, with Prigozhin exiled to Belarus, brokered by Minsk, the disaster appears to have been resolved. But for Ukrainians, the damage was already done: Russia’s weaknesses were laid bare, and after hours of calling Prigorzhin a traitor for the backstab, Putin appeared weak and desperate by agreeing to back down.
The short-lived insurgency did not noticeably affect the posture of Russian troops on the 1,000-kilometre front in eastern Ukraine, but it may give Ukraine the impetus it needs to step up its counteroffensive, which military leaders have acknowledged is progressing more slowly than expected.
“In the short term, it distracts attention from the war and diverts some resources from the front lines,” said Nigel Gould-Davis, senior fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Affairs.
But in the long run, he said, it showed a lack of unity among Russia’s combat forces. “It’s very bad for morale in Russia. Same for soldiers. It’s very good for morale in Ukraine.”
On the Russian Telegram channel, a military blogger urged Russian soldiers to stay focused on the war. “Brother! Everyone who bears arms on the contact line, remember, your enemy is right across from you,” one message read.
Andrii Kvasnytsia, a 50-year-old Ukrainian soldier who was wounded in fighting in the eastern city of Bakhmut and the ongoing fighting on the southern flank of the salt mining town held by Russian troops, said: “Everyone is excited.”
“My friend called me today and he said, ‘Andrei, I haven’t had a drink in years, but today I have a good reason to drink,'” he said. We will definitely win. “He is recovering in Kiev,” he told The Associated Press in an interview in Kiev.
As Wagner’s army marched toward Moscow, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hannah Malyar announced that progress in several directions on the front had been ongoing for weeks and that Russia’s further northward advance had been thwarted.
“An enemy’s vulnerability is always a window of opportunity that allows us to exploit that advantage,” she told The Associated Press, adding that it was too early to assess how the political games played out by Russia could give Ukraine the upper hand militarily .
Earlier this month, Ukraine stepped up attacks in multiple directions in the southeast, a move that signaled the start of its much-anticipated counteroffensive. But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted that progress was “lower than expected”.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said last week that a new reserve force would be formed by the end of June to bolster Russia’s forces on the Ukrainian front, where it has committed 90 percent of its troops and is well over Ukrainian armed men.
Experts say the Ukrainians will need to maintain flexibility and speed to exploit Russia’s weaknesses on the front lines and break through when the opportunity arises.
They say the Ukrainian military has modern NATO-standard weapons systems and morale is a necessary factor in increasing the speed it needs to change ground dynamics.
“This will give Ukraine a real boost,” said James Nixey, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at Chatham House. “If we keep saying that Ukrainians do have a lot to fight for, they’ve been a little bit demoralized lately.”
Ukrainian commanders told their fighters they were indirectly responsible for the discord in Russia. “The heroes of Bakhmut, who held the city for ten months and drained the energy of the enemy, were the co-authors of this Russian epic defeat,” Cherevati said.
The truth is much more complicated. The long-running rivalry between Prigozhin and the Russian military leadership predates the full-scale invasion, but Wagner’s relative effectiveness compared with the regular forces fighting in the city has boosted Prigozhin’s profile and may give It undermined his confidence in continuing to advance the rebellion.
Still, the message resonated with the Ukrainian military as it prepares for its next decisive advance in the war.
Soldiers of a mortar unit opened fire on Russian targets from their positions in the Zaporozhye region of southeastern Ukraine on Sunday, with each blast aimed at expressing grievances caused by Russia.
“For the Kakhovka dam!” shouted a Ukrainian special forces soldier with the callsign “Rhine,” referring to the catastrophic Russian-caused collapse of the dam earlier this month that flooded entire Ukrainian communities. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a syndicated news feed, the latest staff may not have modified or edited the body of content)