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Frontline report: Russia suffers record aircraft losses during Wagner mutiny

Wagner coup destroyed aircraft
A Russian aircraft destroyed during the Wagner coup. Screenshot from footage
Frontline report: Russia suffers record aircraft losses during Wagner mutiny
Article by: Reporting from Ukraine
Russia’s MoD lost six helicopters and one airplane as a result of the armed rebellion by PMC Wagner commander Yevgeny Prigozhin. Although no details of his retreat deal were made public, it is expected that Putin will dismiss the highest officials in the Russian Ministry of Defense over around two months.

Day 486.

The Wagner rebellion continued, and Prigozhin gradually consolidated control over the captured territories.

Yesterday, Wagner forces crossed the border of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in multiple places and took over the military objects in the Rostov region. Today, they reached the doorstep of Moscow.

The rebellion started and developed so rapidly that many people wondered whether it was just a big show to distract the Ukrainians from their counteroffensive operation.

However, today the Head of Ukrainian Intelligence, Budanov, confirmed that the internal Russian armed conflict was real and that removing the Russian Ministry of Defense was a matter of survival for Prigozhin.

Prigozhin released a video where he showed the captured headquarters of the Southern Military District. in Rostov-on-Don. He took captive the Russian commanders, who were not allowed to leave, and said that he would set everyone free only in exchange for Shoigu and Gerasimov.

To increase the leverage, Prigozhin also captured the airfield and several villages east of the city, and started reinforcing the flanks while moving towards Moscow.

Putin gave a speech to address the situation, and despite Prigozhin’s claim to be acting in Putin’s best interests, Putin did not support his actions.

Putin called it a stab in the back that threatened to break Russia just like in 1917, which is why he ordered all special detachments to suppress the rebellion.

He gave the Wagner soldiers the last chance to surrender and said that whoever remained would answer before the nation.

Shortly, Russian forces started using their assault helicopters and fighter jets to bomb Wagner columns.

Prigozhin said that Russian Air Force disregarded that there were more civilian cars than Wagner cars and that the pilots had terrible accuracy because everyone who could shoot was already on the front.

Still, some bombs managed to hit the trucks on the road. One helicopter also blew up an oil depot in the Voronezh Oblast, which by then was also captured by Wagner forces.

Wagner forces responded reciprocally and started shooting down Russian aviation.

The widely circulated footage confirms that Wagner forces shot down multiple aerial objects, including:

  • 1 assault helicopter Ka-52
  • 1 multi-purpose helicopter Mi-8
  • 3 Electric Warfare helicopters
  • 1 transport helicopter
  • and 1 aerial command point plane IL-18.


Soon, Russian forces started bombing the occupied military headquarters in Rostov. Wagner forces responded by reinforcing air defense in the region and asking civilians to evacuate from the area.

Russian forces also tried to block the roads with trucks to complicate Wagner’s movement, but Wagners just moved them to the side of the road. Sometimes, Russian soldiers on the block posts did not welcome Wagner forces warmly, and there were violent confrontations.

In general, Russian forces failed to provide reasonable resistance, and Wagner forces developed a presence not only in Rostov and Voronezh regions but also Kursk, Oriol, Lipetsk, Tambov, and Tula regions, reaching the doorstep of Moscow region.

Here the situation became more complicated as Russians blocked all bridges. Simultaneously, Chechen units entered the Rostov Oblast to strike Wagner’s flanks.

Wagner coup Russia
Chechen units were about to strike Wagner’s flanks when Prigozhin suddenly announced a retreat

The conflict was about to escalate, and after putting all cards on the table, the parties decided to try to negotiate.

The President of Belarus, Lukashenko, volunteered to mediate the negotiation. He has been a close friend of both Putin and Prigozhin for more than 20 years.

Suddenly, Prigozhin announced that he was withdrawing. Russian officials stated that charges on Prigozhin and participating Wagner soldiers were dropped.

It looks like the Russian Ministry of Defense evaluated the situation and understood that they had no chance and fulfilled all of Prigozhin’s demands. More precisely: the removal of Shoigu and Gerasimov.

Even though Russian officials stated that no changes to the Ministry of Defense structure were discussed during the negotiation process, no one believes that. It is expected that Putin will remove the highest officials in the Russian Ministry of Defense over around two months.

Even though turmoil inside the Russian Ministry of Defense is not explicit, it is happening. The chaos inside the Russian War Machine creates very favorable conditions for Ukrainians

In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what’s happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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