The Wagner Group, Bakhmut, and a New Phase in the Ukraine War

The war in Ukraine is approaching a pivotal moment. Russia remains in control of the hotly contested city of Bakhmut. But the ruthlessly effective mercenary forces of the Wagner Group—the same group whose leader, Yevgeny Prighozin, has openly bickered with the regular Russian military and reportedly offered to trade Russian troop positions to Ukrainian intelligence—are withdrawing. Ukrainian forces, meanwhile, are preparing for a reported counteroffensive, even as unclaimed attacks are taking place across the border in Russia—including, most recently, on a civilian target in Moscow. 

To discuss these developments, Lawfare Senior Editor Scott R. Anderson sat down with two reporters covering the conflict for the Washington Post: Intelligence and National Security Reporter Shane Harris and Ukraine Bureau Chief Isabelle Khurshudyan. They discussed the peculiar role played by the Wagner Group, recent revelations stemming from the Discord leaks, and what to expect from the conflict in the months to come. 

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