An ongoing spat between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the head of The Wagner private military company Yevgeny Prihgozhin peaked last weekend when Wagner occupied the city of Rostov and threatened to move on Moscow.

At some point, during the chaos, Prihgozhin had a moment of clarity and turned his forces back, avoiding a civil conflict that he and his twenty-five thousand would most likely lose. Putin made a TV appearance earlier today calling the Wagner mercenaries patriots, but the Wagner leader is still in hiding.

At the beginning of this year, Wagner had fifty thousand troops and lost half of them in taking Bakhmut. Russia will need to find a way to use the remaining Wagner troops. Eight thousand of the total twenty-five thousand will be posted in Belarus, and the remaining seventeen thousand, it is predicted that they will be integrated into the regular Russian forces.

Image: Image: Shutterstock: demm28

Produced By: Dominic Giles

Featured In Story: Dr Matthew Sussex, Senior Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU., and Dr Alexey Muraviev, Associate Professor of National Security and Strategic Studies at Curtin University Perth

First aired on The Wire, Tuesday 27 June 2023