Europe, News Watch, Side Feature, South Asia

News Review 28/06/2023

* Mutiny in Russia
* Pakistan Military Chief Fires Army Officers, for Alleged Role in May 9 Violence
* Germany Plans ‘Permanent’ Force in Lithuania

Mutiny in Russia

After weeks of tension Wagner’s head Yevgeny Prigozhin withdrew his troops form the battle front in Ukraine and took over Russia’s military hub in Rostov-on-don. For long Prigozhin has been in a stand-off with Sergei Shoigu the defence minister and the chief of staff General Gerasimov who have been halting supplies of ammunition and equipment after Wagner claimed a number of victories in Eastern Ukraine in its name. This caused tension with Russia’s military leaders who have ever since been making life difficult for Wagner. Events came to a head on Friday June 23rd as Prigozhin announced a march to Moscow to remove both the defence minister and army chief. This caused global headlines with western media outlets talking of a coup against Putin. The regime in Moscow responded swiftly by getting key generals to record videos denouncing the mutiny. Putin himself went on Russian TV on Sat morning calling Prigozhin’s actions a mutiny. By Sat evening Belarus’s leader agreed a deal that saw Wagner forces go back to their position on the battlefront and Prigozhin’s going into exile in Belarus. This came at the worst possible time as Russia has been facing a counter offensive from Ukraine. Looking at how quickly the rebellion was dealt with its unlikely this will impact Putin’s position and Russia’s war in Ukraine. But it remains to be seen the impact upon morale in Russia’s armed forces.

Pakistan Military Chief Fires Army Officers, for Alleged Role in May 9 Violence

Pakistan’s military fired three army officers, including a lieutenant general, and disciplined 15 other senior officers for allegedly failing to secure military installations during violent riots sparked by former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s May 9 arrest. Maj. Gen. Ahmad Sharif further stated that 102 civilians were on trial in military courts for their alleged role in the violence. The disciplinary actions indicate that the military’s assertive crackdown against those alleged to have partaken in or enabled violence in early May continues nearly two months later. The announcement is intended to send a clear warning to those in the military who support Khan.

Germany Plans ‘Permanent’ Force in Lithuania

After just 2 weeks since announcing its national defence review Germany will establish a permanent presence of around 4,000 troops in Lithuania in a bid to strengthen NATO’s eastern flank against Russia, the country’s defence minister has said. The move is an attempt by Berlin, which has promised a Zeitenwende or “turning point” in its role in European defence and security after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, to scale up its commitments amid repeated calls from NATO’s Baltic member states to strengthen its eastern flank. “We expressly acknowledge our responsibility, our obligation as a NATO member state, as the largest economy in Europe, to stand up for the protection of the eastern flank,” said Boris Pistorius, who was visiting Lithuania on Monday along with NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg to watch a German-led military exercise.