Arrests in Russian National Guard, Kadyrov worried about internal resistance

Russian security forces near the Kremlin, March 20, 2023

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on March 27 that the Ukrainian army could launch a counter-offensive in April or May, depending on the weather, ISW wrote. He added that the GS would consider using recently received modern heavy equipment such as the Leopard 2 and Challenger 2.

Also read: Ukraine has already received dozens of modern tanks and armored vehicles

The United States has also increased the pace of deliveries of Abrams tanks and Patriot missile systems to Ukraine. Although modern technologies will support a future Ukrainian counteroffensive, there is a time gap between the arrival of this equipment in Ukraine and its deployment on the battlefield, experts said.

Two Rosgvardia commanders have recently been accused of corruption. The head of the naval department of the Russian National Guard, Colonel Sergey Volkov, was arrested on March 29 for the purchase of substandard and at the same time overpriced radar systems (Orel UAV complexes – ed.). The deputy commander of the central district of Rosgwardia, Major General Vadim Dragomiretsky, was arrested on March 20.

A notable feature of this massive corruption investigation is that there has been no precedent for firings or arrests among Russian military commanders since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. It shows that Putin may be concerned about Rosgvardia’s reliability and loyalty, as well as corruption within its military machine.

Also read: Chechen fighters ‘believe Russia may collapse sooner or later’

Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov’s demonstrative response to the attack on a police station in Gudermes late on March 28 suggests he is deeply concerned about the stability of his rule in the region. Kadyrov brought his 15-year-old son to the scene of the crime to show him the bodies of two dead unidentified attackers and record videos for TikTok. There is also extremely violent video of Kadyrov’s mercenaries making fun of the bodies. The ISW speculated that he wanted to show himself to be a “strong” leader who would deal ruthlessly with any resistance.

“The fact that Kadyrov reacted so immediately and persistently to the attack suggests that he is concerned about the potential for internal resistance in Chechnya that could undermine his authoritarian rule over the autonomous republic,” the statement said.

It seems that Russia and Iran are deepening their relations. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on March 29 in Moscow. The ISW understands that they discussed further military supplies of Iranian-made weapons to the Russian army in Ukraine and finalized the deal selling a Russian Su-35 air-defense fighter to Iran.

Also read: Russian propagandists are preparing the public for a possible Ukrainian counter-offensive

Iran’s Pouya Air Transport resumed regular flights between Tehran and Moscow on March 29, likely to support arms transfers, the Ukrainian Resistance Center reported. Private military company Wagner has also agreed to supply Shahed-131 suicide drones for combat in Ukraine, but there is still no evidence they are using these drones, ISW noted.

The ISW has already noted Russian-Iranian military cooperation in the all-out war against Ukraine. Some Iranian operatives were most likely in Ukraine to support attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure. It seems that Iran intends to maintain bilateral relations with Russia on military issues.

Some other key conclusions from the ISW for the past day are as follows:

  • Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner of the Wagner Group, took the opportunity to polish his personal image by declaring that the recent two-year prison sentence given to Aleksey Moskalev for his 12-year-old daughter’s anti-war drawing was unfair, despite Prigzhin himself lobbying for the legislation had considered the discrediting of the armed forces as a criminal offense.

  • Russian troops launched a limited offensive in the area between Kupyansk, Svatove and Kreminna.

  • Occupying Russian troops are Continuing their offensive efforts near Bakhmut and Avdiyivka.

  • The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, paid his second visit to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

  • Russia continues its efforts to integrate the territories occupied by Ukraine.

  • Belarus announced conscription “planned measures” for military training, as well as retraining of reserve soldiers.

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