Putin’s “Shadow army” – Wagner – On the move again…

There is rising concern in Europe as soldiers of the Wagner Group are on the move again. BizNews gets news of the latest developments from the Omega Consulting Group’s (OCG’s) Andrei Kebkalo who describes the Wagner Group as “Putin’s Shadow Army”.  He counted 13 Wagner columns crossing the border with Belarus, with the last one arriving this morning (Friday 28 July). There are also 3,000 to 4,000 personnel and 800 vehicles in the Wagner field camp 200 kilometres from Ukrainian border. Another 10,000 personnel is expected to arrive. As for fears that they could soon be heading to Poland, Kebkalo says it is a “possibility” as the Russians are trying to drag NATO countries into the war. He also gives an update on the “very difficult counter-offensive”, and reveals that the military is in a “terrible state” while corrupt Government officials are crossing the border with suitcases full of US dollars, and people are buying golden chairs, golden tables, and “everything made of gold”. Kebkalo says: “It’s very embarrassing because for some people, a war in Ukraine is a tragedy.  And on the other hand, for other people, it’s like a free ticket to a dream life.” – Chris Steyn

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Relevant timestamps from the interview

  • 00:10 – Introductions 
  • 00:25 – Andrei Kebkalo on latest movements of the Wagner group
  • 02:06 – On the rumours that they could be heading towards Poland
  • 06:26 – On if new phase of the war is being entered here
  • 07:25 – On if this could just be a diversionary tactic to draw Ukrainian troops towards a northern border
  • 08:51 – On the supposed new leader of the Wagner group
  • 10:15 – On what else is happening in the war that’s not made the news
  • 16:05 – It’s going to be a long war
  • 16:32 – Still training operatives
  • 21:39 – On money being looted from western aid 
  • 23:25 – Conclusions

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Highlights from the interview

There is rising concern in Europe as soldiers of the Wagner Group are on the move again.

BizNews gets news of the latest developments from the Omega Consulting Group’s (OCG’s) Andrei Kebkalo who describes the Wagner Group as “Putin’s Shadow Army”.

Speaking from Ukraine, he says: “Well, we counted, I think, 13 Wagner columns crossing the border with Belarus. Actually, the last one, the 13th column, arrived in Belarus this morning (Friday, 28 July). And so we have approximately 3,000 to 4,000 personnel in the field camp and approximately 800 vehicles at the moment. We’re not aware of any heavy equipment such as APCs and infantry fighting vehicles, tanks, artillery pieces and so on; we have only pickup trucks and lorry trucks etc.

“However, we expect approximately 10,000 personnel in Belarus…the field camp is located 200 kilometres from the Ukrainian border. And so far the Wagner Group was seen training local Belarusian special forces and conventional troops.”

Read more: The BRICS Summit – Great expectations. Great challenges…

Asked about rumours that Wagner soldiers could be heading towards Poland, Kebkalo says: “It’s very hard to call a rumour because there was a statement made by the President of Belarus (Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko)… It’s a possibility. It’s a possibility that in particular they’re interested in RzeszĂłw…It was a small, sleepy town we can call them. Only 200 kilometres from Belarus and 100 kilometres from Ukraine. But now RzeszĂłw became a hub, a huge hub for military equipment, humanitarian aid, evacuation processes, and high-profile passengers, such as President of the United States, Joe Biden, et cetera. So it is a very attractive target for Wagner Group – and we know that Wagner Group has an appetite for such attractive targets.”

Kebkalo believes that the Russians are trying to drag NATO countries into the war. “…at the moment it’s very difficult to predict what they’re going to do. It’s very important that they don’t have heavy vehicles, heavy equipment. But if we will see that they’re getting artillery pieces, tanks, infantry light vehicles, or something similar… It’s for Ukraine or for Poland.”

On whether a new phase of the war could then be imminent,  Kebkalo says: “Well, if they decide to invade Poland, yeah, it’s definitely going to be definitely a new chapter in this war. And I don’t know how NATO countries will react.”

As for the possibility that it could be a diversionary tactic to draw Ukrainian troops to the Northern border thus weakening the current force levels in the East, Kebkalo says: “When you say tactic, we have to remember who’s commanding all these people. It’s Putin. Putin is an ex-KGB spy. So, nothing is straightforward for this guy.”

Read more: Putin’s BRICS dream, Ramaphosa’s nuke nightmare, Wagner’s new leader and the long war…

Giving an update on the Ukrainian counter-offensive, Kebkalo says: “Counter-offensive is ongoing. Not as quickly and not as effectively as many people expected. But it’s a very difficult task, to be honest, very difficult…By the beginning of this winter, we will be able to say, were we successful or not in our counter-offensive, but definitely not tomorrow or in the next month.”

Meanwhile, Kebkalo’s company has stopped training special operatives for clandestine operations. “…Ukrainian government shows no interest in funding training programmes or military operations. Apparently they don’t have money. They say they don’t have money for that, but unfortunately…corruption in my country is as high as ever. We don’t have money for training. We don’t have money for our military operations. But at the same time, we do have money for luxury villas, luxury cars, elite food and alcohol, you know, holidays in Spain, the French Riviera, basically good life. You know, ordinary people, they have a totally different life. But the Ukrainian elite…it looks like they’re just profiting.

“You know the problem is that we’re very comfortable with Western aid, with everything that we receive for free. Weapons, weapon systems, humanitarian aid, all these loans, money for different projects. We’re getting everything for free. And this is actually a very, very comfortable position because if you’re getting everything for free, then you can do whatever you want with your budgets. And at the same time, the army is in a terrible state. 

“You know, people are crazy. Absolutely crazy. Government officials are crossing the border with suitcases full of US dollars…people are buying golden chairs, golden tables, everything made of gold. I don’t know why they have this obsession about gold, but it’s very hard for me. 

“It’s very embarrassing because for some people, a war in Ukraine is a tragedy.  And on the other hand, for other people, it’s like a free ticket to a dream life.”

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