Putin ally says he warned Wagner chief Prigozhin ‘to watch out’ for threats to life – Ukraine-Russia war live

By Isaac M August 26, 2023

Wagner chief Prigozhin killed

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko said he warned Yevgeny Prigozhin to “watch out” for threats to his life when the Wagner mercenary chief marched on to Moscow in June, before the plane crash in which he is believed to have died.

During the mutiny which challenged Vladimir Putin’s rule in Russia, Mr Lukashenko said he had warned Prigozhin that he would “die” if he continued to march on Moscow, to which he said Prigozhin had answered: “To hell with it – I will die.”

He added that when Prigozhin and his right-hand man, Dmitry Utkin, who was also listed as a passenger on the Embraer Legacy 600 which crashed, had come to see him, he had warned them both: “Lads – you watch out.”

The reports come as Moscow said it had faced another drone attack overnight, brought down by air defence systems over the Istra district of the Russian capital.

And two people were killed and another wounded on Saturday when Russian shelling hit a cafe in the village of Podoly in the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv.

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Belarus president says he warned Wagner chief to watch out for threats to his life

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has said that he warned the Wagner mercenary chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin, to “watch out” for threats to his life before the plane crash in which he is believed to have died.

Mr Lukashenko said Prigozhin had twice dismissed concerns raised by the Belarusian leader about possible threats to his life.

Mr Lukashenko said that during the mutiny he had warned Prigozhin that he would “die” if he continued to march on Moscow, to which he said Prigozhin had answered: “To hell with it – I will die.” Then, Mr Lukashenko said, when Prigozhin and his right-hand man, Dmitry Utkin, who was also listed as a passenger on the Embraer Legacy 600 which crashed, had come to see him, he had warned them both: “Lads – you watch out.”

Arpan Rai26 August 2023 06:04

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Russia’s Wagner mercenaries face uncertainty after the presumed death of its leader

The Wagner Group’s presence extends from the ancient battlegrounds of Syria to the deserts of sub-Saharan Africa, projecting the Kremlin’s global influence with mercenaries accused of using brutal force and profiting on mineral riches they seized.

But that was under Yevgeny Prigozhin, who in what could have been his final video released earlier this week appeared in military fatigues and held an assault rifle from an unidentified dry and dusty plain as he boasted that Wagner is “making Russia even greater on all continents and Africa even more free.”

On Wednesday, a private jet carrying Prigozhin and his top lieutenants of the mercenary group crashed northwest of Moscow, two months after he led an armed rebellion that challenged the authority of President Vladimir Putin. There is wide speculation that Prigozhin, who is presumed dead, was targeted for his uprising, although the Kremlin has denied involvement.

That crash has raised questions about the future of the Wagner Group.

In African countries where Wagner provided security against groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State, officials and commentators predict Russia will likely maintain its presence, placing the forces under new leadership.

Others, however, say Prigozhin built deep, personal connections that Moscow could find challenging to replace quickly.

(PRIGOZHIN PRESS SERVICE)

Sam Rkaina26 August 2023 12:20

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Two people killed by Russian shelling in east Ukraine

Two people were killed and another wounded on Saturday when Russian shelling hit a cafe in the village of Podoly in the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv, local governor Oleh Synehubov said.

“The enemy hit a civilian object – a cafe where local residents were during the day,” Synehubov wrote on Telegram.

Podoly was occupied shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, but the village was retaken by Kyiv in a counteroffensive last September.

Russian forces have been attempting to push forward on the Kharkiv region frontline in recent weeks. The Ukrainian army has acknowledged fighting there has become more difficult but says it is holding the line

Sam Rkaina26 August 2023 11:59

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Moscow reports another drone attack

Russia has reported a new drone attack on Moscow overnight, which again forced the temporary closure of three major airports serving the capital, and another in a southern region bordering Ukraine.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said that a drone was brought down by air defence systems over the Istra district of the Moscow region. The district is some 31 miles west of the Kremlin.

Moscow’s Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports suspended flights for couple of hours, TASS news agency said.

In the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said air defences shot down a drone near the village of Kupino, with no reported damage or casualties.

But he said four people were wounded by Ukrainian shelling of another village, Urazovo. He posted photos showing damage to buildings, one with its roof smashed in.

Sam Rkaina26 August 2023 11:41

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Russia says 10 bodies and flight recorders recovered from scene of Prigozhin jet crash

Russia has recovered 10 bodies and flight recorders from the ill-fated plane carrying Wagner chief and his allies which crashed on Wednesday, officials said.

An investigative committee is carrying out molecular genetic testing to identify the bodies from the crash site, officials said on Friday.

The jet crashed soon after taking off from Moscow for St Petersburg. It was believed to be carrying the powerful mercenary group’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, six other Wagner members, and a crew of three, Russia’s civil aviation authority said.

Rescue workers found 10 bodies at the spot of the jet’s remains, the Russian media reported citing anonymous sources from Wagner group which confirmed that their top leader was dead.

The officials have not confirmed the identities of the 10 bodies recovered from the wreckage.

A law enforcement officer works at the site of the plane crash near the village of Kuzhenkino, Tver region

(AFP via Getty Images)

Sam Rkaina26 August 2023 10:15

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‘Gangster’ Putin committed ‘most ostentatious’ act of savagery in our lifetimes, says Boris

The former Prime Minister has described the downing of the Wagner chief’s plane as “violent liquidation” and claimed that Putin was “being transformed before our eyes into an Asiatic despot”.

“I cannot think of another example of such ostentatious and uninhibited savagery by a world leader – not in our lifetimes,” he said.

Boris Johnson called Vladimir Putin a “gangster”

(Getty Images)

Sam Rkaina26 August 2023 09:45

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On the ground in the battle for Robotyne

Defending Ukraine’s strategy this week, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy dismissed suggestions that his country’s troops were spread too thinly and repeated his belief that Kyiv would regain all Ukrainian territory that has been seized by Moscow.

“We have passed the main roads that were mined. We are coming to those lines where we can go (forward). I’m sure we’ll go faster from here,” Kombat said.

He said two houses were still under Russian control in Robotyne: “We’re fighting for them, and then we’ll have full control (of Robotyne).”

Kombat said Ukrainian troops had now entered territories where there were only “Russian logistics” groups, and where he made clear he did not expect Russian defences to be as difficult to break through.

“We are moving on to liberate all our territories,” he said.

Sam Rkaina26 August 2023 09:10

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Ukrainian ‘has broken through most difficult line of Russian defences in the south’

Ukrainian forces believe they have broken through the most difficult line of Russian defences in the south and will now be able to advance more quickly, a commander fighting in the south has said.

Kyiv forces launched a counteroffensive in June, but well-prepared Russian defence lines reinforced by minefields have slowed their southward advance towards the Sea of Azov.

Ukrainian forces said on Wednesday they had raised the national flag in the settlement of Robotyne in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, about six miles south of the frontline town of Orikhiv.

“We don’t stop here,” said a commander who led some of the troops into Robotyne and uses the nom de guerre “Kombat”.

“Next we have (the town of) Berdiansk, and then more. I made it clear to my fighters at once: our goal is not Robotyne, our goal is (the Sea of) Azov.”

Robotyne is about 100 km from Berdiansk, a port on the shores of the Sea of Azov, and 85 km from the strategic city of Melitopol. Both are occupied by Russian forces following Moscow’s full-scale invasion in February last year.

Moscow has not confirmed that Ukraine has advanced into Robotyne.

A member of the 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade shakes hands with a woman, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Robotyne, Zaporizhiza region

(47th Separate Mechanized Brigade/Handout via REUTERS)

Sam Rkaina26 August 2023 08:38

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Putin’s troops likely to scale up attacks in eastern Ukraine soon, says UK MoD

The British Ministry of Defence has said there is a realistic possibility Russia will increase the intensity of its offensive efforts on the Kupiansk-Lyman axis in the next two months in the eastern part of Ukraine.

This will probably with be the objective of advancing west to the Oskil River and creating a buffer zone around Luhansk Oblast, the ministry said in its latest intelligence update today.

“As Ukraine continues to gradually gain ground in the south, Russia’s doctrine suggests that it will attempt to regain the initiative by pivoting back to an operational level offensive. Kupiansk-Lyman is one potential area for this,” the MoD said.

It added: “The Ukrainian counter-offensive has put Russian forces under pressure in Bakhmut and southern Ukraine. Despite this, Russia’s Western Group of Forces has continued small-scale attacks in the north-east, in the Kupiansk-Lyman sector, and has made some limited local advances.”

Arpan Rai26 August 2023 07:18

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Russia to resume offensive in east Ukraine after regrouping, Kyiv says

Russia is regrouping its forces in the Moscow-controlled eastern part of Ukraine in order to resume an offensive, Ukrainian Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the military’s ground forces, said.

“After a month of fierce fighting and significant losses in the Kupiansk and Lyman directions, the enemy is regrouping its forces and means, simultaneously throwing newly formed brigades and divisions from the territory of the Russian Federation,” Colonel-General Syrskyi said in his Telegram channel.

He said the main goal of these measures was to “increase the level of combat potential and resume active offensive operations”.

The top commander did not provide details of the Russian regrouping but said the forces continued heavy artillery and mortar shelling and air assaults.

“Under such conditions, we must promptly take all measures to strengthen our defences on the threatened lines and advance where possible,” the general said.

Kupiansk, a town with a pre-war population of around 27,000, was seized by Russia in the early days of the February 2022 invasion before Ukrainian troops recaptured it in a lightning offensive last September that embarrassed Moscow.

Arpan Rai26 August 2023 06:50

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