Desperate Putins unusual behaviour pinpointed by UK defence chiefs

President Putin has taken part in unusually visible public engagements, in an effort to project strength in the wake of the failed Wagner mutiny according to the latest British military intelligence update.

According to the UK Ministry of Defence briefing, once the insurrection was contained, Russian state media sought to counter claims that the security forces had been passive. They pushed narratives that emphasised President Vladimir Putin’s triumph in thwarting the mutiny without bloodshed, aiming to unite the nation behind him.

Almost a week later, the state media began downplaying the significance of Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin and the mutiny, while simultaneously attempting to tarnish Prigozhin’s reputation.

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The MOD update said: “Russian state-approved media has responded to the 24 June 2023 Wagner Group mutiny in three phases. Outlets were almost certainly initially surprised by the mutiny and were not prepared; Russian TV maintained its usual schedule.

“After the insurrection was defused, Russian state outlets sought to ‘correct’ claims that security forces had been passive.

“Narratives promoted the idea that President Vladimir Putin had triumphed by thwarting the insurrection, while avoiding bloodshed, and sought to unite the country behind the president.

“Nearly a week later, the state started to play down the significance of Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin and the mutiny, while tarnishing his character.

“Wagner Telegram channels have largely gone silent, almost certainly due to state intervention. By contrast, Putin has undertaken unusually prominent public engagements, almost certainly aiming to project strength.”

The Wagner group’s boss, recently led his fighters in a confrontation with senior Russian military figures, embarrassing the Kremlin.

He eventually decided against attacking Moscow and negotiated a deal with the Kremlin, accepting exile in Belarus’ neighbouring country.

Putin ordered a “partial” military mobilisation in September in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of the previous year, making it the first such mobilisation since World War 2.

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Tens of thousands of men sought safety overseas while hundreds of thousands were drafted.

Meanwhile, Russia’s media watchdog blacklisted at least five media outlets affiliated with Prigozhin and blocked their websites in Russia.

The move came after Wagner fighters took control of a Russian military headquarters and advanced on Moscow in what appears to have been an attempted insurrection.

As of Saturday (July 1), websites of the RIA FAN news agency and four online news portals controlled by Prigozhin’s Patriot media holding company ‘People’s News’, ‘Neva News’, ‘Politics Today’ and ‘Economy Today’ — were listed on a register of blacklisted sites maintained by the communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor.

Vladimir Putin has decided there is no need for a fresh military draft in Russia to replace the Wagner soldiers who departed the Ukrainian battlefield after the group’s brief rebellion, according to a defence official quoted by Russian media on Monday (July 3).

There is no danger of a reduction in combat preparedness in the medium- and long-term views, according to Andrey Kartapolov, the state duma’s defence committee chairman.

He said that during the uprising, the Wagner private military company (PMC) personnel were stationed in camps rather than leading the charge.

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