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Russia suffering from ‘full-scale weakness,’ Ukraine’s Zelenskyy says of Wagner mutiny

Ukrainian officials hope Russian infighting will create opportunities for its army to take back territory seized by Russian forces, with deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar writing on the Telegram app that the "political crisis" in Russia provides Kyiv with a "window of opportunity."

Kyiv says its forces are making further advances near Bakhmut

A person gestures while speaking at a lectern featuring the Ukraine flag.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says it is clear that Russia is suffering from "full-scale weakness" after mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin launched an armed rebellion.

Zelenskyy said in comments posted on his Telegram channel on Saturday that "anyone who chooses the path of evil destroys himself."

He said that "for a long time, Russia used propaganda to mask its weakness and the stupidity of its government. And now there is so much chaos that no lie can hide it.

"Russia's weakness is obvious. Full-scale weakness," Zelenskyy said. "And the longer Russia keeps its troops and mercenaries on our land, the more chaos, pain and problems it will have for itself later. This is also obvious."

The dramatic developments come exactly 16 months after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Europe's largest conflict since the Second World War, killing tens of thousands of people, displacing millions and reducing cities to rubble.

WATCH | Wagner uprising could expose weakness in Putin's rule:

How mercenaries' brief uprising could expose weakness in Putin's rule

12 hours ago

Duration 1:31

If Russian President Vladimir Putin isn't able to reassert strength after Wagner private army fighters briefly undertook a march on Moscow, it could become 'a weakness that will be exploited, one way or another, by factions within Russia that have feared him in the past,' according to University of Toronto political science professor Aurel Braun.

The rebellion by Prigozhin and his Wagner Group private militia comes as Kyiv's forces have been probing Russian defences in the initial stages of a counteroffensive.

Ukrainian officials hope the Russian infighting will create opportunities for its army to take back territory seized by Russian forces, with deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar writing on Telegram on Saturday that the "political crisis" in Russia provides Kyiv with a "window of opportunity."

In fact, Ukraine's military said on Saturday that its forces had made advances near the eastern city of Bakhmut — a key battleground on the eastern front taken by Wagner forces in May after months of fighting — and in an area further south.

Maliar said an offensive was launched near a of group of villages ringing Bakhmut.


"In all these areas, we have made advances," Maliar wrote.

Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, commander of the Tavria, or southern, front, said Ukrainian forces had liberated an area near Krasnohorivka, west of the Russian-held regional centre of Donetsk. He said the area had been under Russian control since separatist forces backed by Moscow took control of it in 2014.

With files from Reuters

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