The presidential administration of Russia fears that within hours the Wagner PMCs might appear near Moscow, and the fighting will begin near the capital.
According to sources, on Friday, the AP did not rule out that "Prigozhin is bluffing" and trying to bargain something for himself. However, after the Vagner PMC took control of Rostov-on-Don in the morning on June 24, it became clear that the case is serious.
A source close to the Russian government, as well as an interlocutor close to the Kremlin, says that Prigozhin "started fussing" about two weeks ago - after Putin said that in order to continue fighting in Ukraine, the PMCs must sign a formal contract with the Defense Ministry (the founder of the Cheka Wagner has a long conflict with this agency).
One of the sources close to the presidential administration admits that the Kremlin also underestimated the problem: "We discussed at the meetings and came to the conclusion that he is a bold adventurer and does not behave according to the rules. The risk of a military mutiny was considered zero - only a madman would do this.
Now the Kremlin is confident that the army and security forces will be able to stop the PMC Wagner's convoys. However, one of my interlocutors has no doubt that at least some of the mercenaries will be able to "break through to Moscow.
The Kremlin is also worried about Putin's ratings - the presidential elections in Russia are to take place in 2024, and they also expect the "tightening of the screws" in Russia.
Author - Olena Madiak, 24/06/2023