Saturday, June 24, 2023

Something to Know - 24 June

Today, there is this SITREP (military acronym for Situation Report).   There is enough going on in the war zone around Ukraine that our attention is now directed to what appears to be civil unrest of the kind that is a civil war within Russia; Putin's internal strife with anti-Putinism).   Kind of like the circular firing squad that the GOP is undergoing, but now like Russia's playbook.  The author of SITREP presents a narrative of what is going on in the eyes of a common fellow on the ground.   In tandem with SITREP, HCR makes mention of the civil strife in Russia, and going on from there to other matters, and her column is here.    This link may be hidden behind a paywall, so let me know if you are unable to read it, and I will go back to a hard copy format for any of her columns.

Ukraine SITREP

Jun 23, 2023, 10:20 PM (10 hours ago)
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Saturday, June 24

It appears civil war has begun in Russia.

JUN 24

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Pictured: Wagner forces surrounding the headquarters of the Russian Southern Military district in Rostov, prior to storming the building.

β„Ή️ Civil War, central focus

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ It appears a civil war has begun in Russia.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ The Russian city of Rostov-on-Don has fallen to the Wagner mercenary group.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Over the past 487 days, there has been escalating conflicts between the Wagner Group and the regular Russian forces, leading to the possible onset of a civil war.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ We have previously documented this growing conflict. In the past, Wagner and Russian forces exchanging fire. Wagner has publicly expressed dissatisfaction with the Russian Ministry of Defense for claiming credit for their achievements. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of Wagner, publicly criticized and verbally targeted Russia's leadership, including Russia's Ministry of Defense, specifically calling out Sergei Shoigu and others. Russia halted the supply of ammunition to Wagner, which caused Prigozhin to blame Russian leadership for the deaths of Wagner fighters. (That's a 30-second version of the past 487 days)

β„Ή️ Recent history:

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ On June 5, Wagner group kidnapped a senior frontline army commander, Lt Col Roman Venevitin, after accusing him of opening fire on a Wagner vehicle near Bakhmut.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ 13 days ago, on June 11, Russia announced it wants to integrate Wagner into Russia's regular military. This was almost certainly done to bring Prigozhin and his forces under control. Russia set a deadline for July 1. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ That night, in a furious statement , Prigozhin said his forces would refuse the contracts. "Wagner will not sign any contracts with Shoigu," Prigozhin said. "Shoigu cannot properly manage military formation."

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Headlines captured the public disagreement. This went back and forth for several days, in a very public way. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ On June 23, the Russian Ministry of Defense allegedly launched a rocket strike on a Wagner Group camp, killing dozens. This camp was a staging are for Wagner Group's operations in Ukraine. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ "A rocket strike was carried out on Wagner Group camps. There are many victims. According to the fighters who witnessed the strike, it came from the rear, meaning it was launched by troops with the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation," Prigozhin said.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ He went on to vow revenge, and called for an armed rebellion against the Russian government. He accused the Ministry of Defense of betraying the Wagner Group and its 'patriotic mission.' He also claimed that he had loyal supporters within the Russian security forces and society. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ In a direct quote, Prigozhin said, "all patriots of Russia, true patriots of the country who are not fans of a weak government who betrayed the state, take to the streets. We will find weapons. This night we will resolve the issue of traitors and criminals who have dishonored Russia. Their names are Shogun, Gerasimov. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Rostov is an oblast about 50 miles outside of Ukraine.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Rostov is a major logistics hub for the Russian army. This is terrible news for the regular Russian Army.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Rostov is the military HQ for controlling operations in Crimea, Donetsk, Kherson, Sevastopol Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia. Also Georgia. Military operations in those areas are going to suffer a major blow.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Because of the above two items, I'm willing to bet this is the beginning of the end of the war.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Wagner is going to load up on Russian supplies, fuel, weapons, ammunitions, etc, from Rostov

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Riot police have surrounded Wagner headquarters in Mokino, where Wagner fighters have taken defense positions.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Wagner rolled a 50km line of troops and tanks and equipment directly into Rostov. Local police forces escorted them.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) initiated a criminal case against Prigozhin for inciting an armed uprising. The FSB has sent special forces to hunt him down in Belogrod, where he was last seen. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Russian military tanks have a white Z pained on the side. Wagner tanks have a red Z painted on them. This is important, because the last time Russians had a civil war, it was between a Red army and a White army. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ There doesn't seem to be any Russian military resistance. One pundit said "It appears to be a full retreat to Moscow." They said this because…

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Russia is apparently surrounding the city of Moscow with every piece of military equipment they can find.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Russian state TV isn't mentioning anything about this.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Locals report that Wagner is fighting Russian security services near the city of Voronezh as they move on Moscow. Unconfirmed at the time of this writing; might be a bit premature writing…

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ …Either way, a convoy is certainly heading north.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Some people are already trying to talk up Prigozhin.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ This is all unfolding news and is developing. Several of the above items happened while I was writing this. This is ongoing, and I will stop now just to get the news out. Most importantly, remember: ⚠️ War happens fast and even high fidelity news needs a ton of corrections after the dust settles. This is going to be one of those cases 

β„Ή️ Older news:

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ During the visit of South African leaders, Russia bombarded Kyiv.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive actions on at least four sectors of the front.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Wagner Group is arming militants in Sudan, fueling the conflict there.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Russian is planning several infrastructure projects to connect occupied Zaporizhia Oblast to occupied Crimea, likely to secure new ground lines of communication

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Putin claims the first tactical nukes have arrived in Belarus. I'll keep my ears open but I haven't read anything in OSINT that would corroborate this assertion 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Kremlin officials turn to heavy drinking to cope with war stress. Senior Russian government members are turning up to meetings drunk as they down vodka, cognac and wine throughout the day, sources say. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ The allowance for wine at official government functions has gone up to two bottles of wine per person.

πŸ“’ Countries apply to be in NATO. NATO is a defense alliance that has never, and does not, consider offensive operations. Saying NATO is encroaching on Russia is Kremlin messaging. Russia has three primary propaganda efforts directed at the West, and that's the first. 

πŸ“’ Yes, Ukraine has a nazi problem, but it's a very small percentage of the country, and not representative of the whole. Using a small group to smear the entire group is called "guilt by association." Russia has three primary propaganda efforts directed at the West, and that's the second.

πŸ“’ If you ever hear anyone say "What about this thing America did…"  in an effort to redirect attention away from Ukraine and onto the west, that is called "Competitive victimhood" and the associated meme is *always* created by Russian-backed media. Russia has three primary propaganda efforts directed at the West, and that's the third.

⚠️ I have stopped daily posts (although I constantly regret it). I compile a lot of this over time, so some of the bullet points may be several days stale

⚠️ Sorry about the typos or awkward sentences!!!! This is the inevitable result of putting out a finalized research product once every 24 hours, with no staff. If anyone feels like giving me staff, we can polish this b right up!

⚠️ I got lazy with my citations and I apologize. My top sources are: Current and former military planners, singularly-focused pundits, and all manner of vetted open-source intelligence. Top cited open source pundits and sources include: CP Scott, Institute for the Study of War, Kyiv Independent, and mainstream news with high levels of journalistic integrity and track records. Sadly I can't source private individuals, of course. 

⚠️ Speaking of sources, thanks to all of you who have forwarded me tips or given me data from the front line. You're the private individuals I wish I could source publicly 

⚠️ Though my awesome employer taught me everything I know about OSINT, these posts are not affiliated with my employer, nor done during my employer's time. Every item I report is from my own research, my own opinion, and written during my own time. 

⚠️ Note: War happens fast and even high fidelity news needs a ton of corrections after the dust settles. 

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ Sorry to my Substack readers who get this weird "ua" symbol instead of a flag emoji!

πŸ‡·πŸ‡Ί Every Russian death is a tragedy. I hope Russians rebel and achieve peace, self-government, and freedom. Edit: but maybe not with Prigozhin?

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ I hope people forgive me for posting some stale news.

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Q. What is the difference between a law-abiding gun owner and a criminal?

A.  The .2 of a second that it takes to pull a trigger.

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