Thursday, June 29, 2023

UKRaine Gains Territory as RUssia Grapples With Wagner’s Aborted Mutiny; Wagner Group Chief Emerges as ‘alternative leader’ in RU, Won’t Stay Banished for Long; Putin Survives, With Permanent Damage; UKR Military Reports Advance on Bakhmut Flanks, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters
WSJ: Ukraine Gains Territory as Russia Grapples With Wagner’s Aborted Mutiny:
Ukraine said it has made fresh territorial gains in its counteroffensive as Kyiv looks to take advantage of the disarray gripping Russia in the wake of the aborted insurrection by the Wagner paramilitary force.
The Defense Ministry on Monday said its forces had taken the village of Rivnopil in the western Donetsk region, pushing back Russia’s defensive lines along a key axis of Ukrainian advance in recent weeks.
“The orcs are running, and we’re going forward,” said a soldier of Ukraine’s 31st Mechanized Brigade in a video posted against the backdrop of a ruined house in Rivnopil, standing alongside other troops in his unit.
The battle for Rivnopil has been ongoing for several days, with Ukraine’s armed forces reporting on Thursday that Russia was reinforcing its positions there. Russia didn’t confirm its loss of the settlement, which would be the first village taken by Ukraine since June 18 amid a slow grinding push against heavily fortified Russian lines.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry also said Ukraine had moved forward a mile and a half in certain areas on the flanks of Bakhmut, the eastern city captured by Russia last month. Ukraine has been pushing for weeks to establish control over high ground overlooking the city from where it can pound Russian forces defending it and put pressure on them to withdraw.
“We keep moving,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said in a post to Telegram.
U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the British Parliament on Monday that Ukraine had already captured approximately 300 square kilometers of territory as part of its summer campaign, more land than Russia seized during its largely unsuccessful winter offensive this year. --->READ MORE HERE
NY POST: Wagner Group chief emerges as ‘alternative leader’ in Russia, won’t stay banished for long: expert
Wagner Group commander Yegevny Prigozhin is now an “alternative leader’’ in Russia — created by President Vladimir Putin himself — and he likely won’t stay banished for long, according to a top former US official.
Prigozhin has transformed overnight from a cutthroat mercenary chief into a “nationalist, populist leader,” said Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Russia under the Obama administration, to “Today” after the rogue commander’s 36-hour revolt against Moscow.
“Putin has now created an alternative leader, and that’s very dangerous for him,” McFaul said, noting Prigozhin’s well-received mutinous statements against Putin posted on Telegram and video footage of him being cheered on by Russian citizens.
“I don’t know how [Putin] is going to control him.”
Under an agreement brokered by Belarus’s dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, on Saturday, Prigozhin was set to be exiled to the Russia-aligned nation in exchange for Putin not charging him or his men with any crime for their planned coup.
But no one has seen or heard from Prigozhin since — except for slightly-smiling selfies with fans in Rostov-on-Don, a Russian town Wagner soldiers occupied until abandoning their revolt.
Asked about his current whereabouts, Prigozhin’s Concord Management Company told CNN: “He sends his regards to everyone and will answer questions when he has proper communication.”
Belarusian officials told the network that they did not have any details about Prigozhin’s status in Belarus and could not confirm whether he was already in the country. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Putin Survives, With Permanent Damage+++++

+++++Ukraine war latest: Military reports advance on Bakhmut flanks; 2 Ukrainian teenagers reportedly killed by Russians in Berdiansk+++++

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