Wagner forces are fighting with Russia’s T-90M
Recently leaked information from a Russian journalist suggests that the Wagner Group forces in Bakhmut are being outfitted with Putin’s best tanks, the T-90M.
Fighting with the latest and greatest
Russian journalist Alexander Simonov posted several images to his Telegram account showing Wagner Group forces using Russia’s latest and most modern generation of main battle tanks.
Western analysts are puzzled
The images have surprised western analysts who are puzzled by the deployment of Russia’s best equipment to non-regular military forces inside of Ukraine.
T-90M’s are hard to come by
“The T-90s are highly valuable and in short supply,” Forbes journalist David Axe recently noted in a recent article he wrote exploring Wagner’s ties with Russian military equipment.
Why doesn’t the army have all the best tanks?
“So why would the Kremlin give, or sell, any of them to Wagner while Wagner directly competes with the Russian army for influence in Moscow?” Axe questioned.
PMC Wagner is owned by a hard-liner
The Wagner Group is a private military company owned and operated by Yevgeny Prigozhin—Vladimir Putin’s former chef, and longtime ally— and can operate outside Russian law as a private military entity.
Vladimir Putin employs his merry band of mercenaries to provide Moscow with a professional force capable of performing sensitive military missions without all the complications that come with using his regular Russian forces.
“Wagner offers the Kremlin plausible deniability,” Axe noted, “both at broad and at home,” which explains why Putin has used the mercenary force so extensively in Ukraine.
Wagner’s been in Ukraine since 2014
Wagner has been involved in Ukraine in some form since eastern separatist activity began in 2014 but the group has taken a far more prominent and active role since Russia invaded the country in February 2022.
Used as shock troops now
“Wagner fighters were often used as shock troops in frontal assaults on their positions, while recently mobilized Russians are deployed in more defensive roles,” according to Peter Beaumont and Pjotr Sauer of the Guardian.
Fighting in Bakhmut since May
Prigozhin’s mercenary forces have been fighting on the outskirts of the all-too-important Ukrainian city of Bakhmut since May but have yet to take their target.
Bakhmut is a symbol
“For Wagner, Bakhmut is a symbol,” wrote Axe, “in seizing the ruins of the lifeless town, which lies 10 miles southwest of Russian-occupied Severodonetsk—one of Donbas’s bigger cities—Wagner apparently aims to establish itself as an alternative to the regular Russian army.”
But why give Wagner the best equipment?
But if David Axe is right, why would the Russian Ministry of Defence outfit Wagner with its most advanced tanks? The answer to that question still isn’t clear, especially considering the growing tensions between Prigozin and various military factions in Russia.
Tensions between Russia’s highest political players
Tensions have been simmering under the surface of Russian politics between some of the country’s biggest names.
Sergei Shoigu is Prigozhin’s prime target
“Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is a common target for Prigozhin, whose resentment toward the defense minister dates back to 2014,” read a recent report from the Middle East Institute.
Wagner forces have been publicly disloyal as of late
A December 26th video of Wagner forces blaming the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov for their lack of artillery munitions showed just how tense things may have gotten.
Maybe the Russian army just can’t win battles
But maybe the answer to why Wagner is receiving the best equipment in Ukraine is because Putin sees Prigozhin’s private military company as the only military outfit that can get the job done.
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter