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Ryan Robertson

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Prigozhin aside, Aug. 23 was good to Ukraine

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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Yevgeny Prigozhin may be dead, but Wednesday, Aug. 23 was a good day for Ukraine. The Ukrainian armed forces took out a major missile installation in Crimea.

Prigozhin’s reported death marked the second occasion in the mercenary’s time on Earth when he reportedly died in a plane crash. The first happened in the Congo in 2019.

This time around, Prigozhin, his second in command Dmitry Utkin, and other Wagner leaders were flying to St. Petersburg from Moscow. Witnesses reported hearing two explosions before the plane fell from the sky.

“Even if he really is dead, this is still only the beginning of the story, because this means there is now an opening in Putin’s inner circle for another person who can be used who can be a little bit of plausible deniability,” Geopolitical expert and Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan said.

In addition to fighting in Ukraine, Prigozhin and his private military company worked extensively in places like the Central African Republic and Sudan. The mercenaries fulfill security contracts for local governments, and Wagner holds the rights to several lucrative mines. Wagner was often employed to carry-out covert missions for the Russian Federation.

A memorial for the allegedly dead war criminal popped up outside the Wagner Group offices. In addition to flowers, mourners brought a sledgehammer, one of the Wagner Group’s favorite tools to mete out discipline.

Plenty of conversations, rumors and conspiracies about whether Putin ordered the death of Prigozhin have popped up since his reported death. In the midst of fighting in Ukraine, Prigozhin led a failed mutiny against Russia’s military leaders in June. Putin said those involved with the treachery would be punished.

Prigozhin’s plane blowing up wasn’t the only explosion to rock Russian morale amid its war with Ukraine Wednesday. A major missile base blew up at around 10:00 am in Russian-occupied Crimea. It’s not clear whether Ukraine used a drone, cruise missile or soldiers on the ground to take out the Cape Tarkhankut missile site.

An S-400 missile battery, a Bastion anti-ship cruise missile battery and a host of radars were all destroyed. Ukraine’s intelligence service added every Russian soldier at the site was killed.

The missile site was vital to Russia’s defense strategy in Crimea, southern Ukraine and the western corridor of the Black Sea. Ukraine has been trying to cut off Crimea and southern Ukraine from the rest of the Russian forces.

Russia anticipated this strategy, setting up the air and naval defenses at the cape. With those assets now a smoldering pile, Ukraine’s ambition to create a Crimean blockade is that much closer to reality.

Less than a day after the missile batteries were destroyed, Ukrainian special forces reportedly carried out a mission in Crimea. Radio Free Europe reported the special operators raised a Ukrainian flag in the territory, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014. If Ukraine succeeds in cutting off Crimea from Russia, it could recapture the territory with minimal combat.

After months of secret negotiations, a Russian helicopter pilot successfully defected to Ukraine Wednesday. They Kyiv Post reported the pilot landed his Mi-8 craft, which was carrying parts for Russian fighter jets, at a base in Ukraine.

While the pilot’s defection was planned, the other two crew members aboard were unwilling to surrender. Ukraine’s military intelligence said they were killed.

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AUGUST 23RD WAS A GOOD DAY FOR UKRAINE. YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN MAY BE DEAD, AND THE UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES TOOK OUT A MAJOR MISSILE INSTALLATION IN CRIMEA.

LET’S BREAK IT ALL DOWN.

FIRST, PRIGOZHIN MAY BE DEAD, AND I SAY MAY, BECAUSE THIS MARKS THE SECOND OCCASION IN THE MERCENARY’S TIME ON EARTH WHEN HE REPORTEDLY DIED IN A PLANE CRASH. THE FIRST HAPPENED IN THE CONGO IN 2019.

THIS TIME AROUND, PRIGOZHIN, HIS SECOND IN COMMAND DMITRY UTKIN, AND OTHER WAGNER LEADERS WERE FLYING TO ST. PETERSBURG FROM MOSCOW. WITNESSES REPORTED HEARING TWO EXPLOSIONS BEFORE THE PLANE FELL FROM THE SKY.

Zeihan: Even if he really is dead, this is still only the beginning of the story, because this means there is now an opening in Putin’s inner circle for another person who can be used who can be a little bit of plausible deniability

A MEMORIAL FOR THE ALLEGEDLY DEAD WAR CRIMINAL POPPED UP OUTSIDE THE WAGNER GROUP OFFICES COMPLETE WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER, ONE OF THE WAGNER GROUP’S FAVORITE TOOLS TO METE OUT DISCIPLINE.

THERE ARE PLENTY OF CONVERSATIONS, RUMORS AND CONSPIRACIES CIRCLING AROUND RUSSIA ABOUT WHETHER PUTIN ORDERED THE DEATH OF PRIGOZHIN. THE WAGNER BOSS LED A FAILED MUTINY IN JUNE, AND PUTIN DID SAY THOSE INVOLVED WITH THE TREACHERY WOULD BE PUNISHED.

PRIGOZHIN’S PLANE BLOWING UP WASN’T THE ONLY EXPLOSION TO ROCK RUSSIAN MORALE ON THE 23RD. AT AROUND 10AM IN RUSSIAN-OCCUPIED CRIMEA…A MAJOR MISSILE BASE BLEW UP.

IT’S NOT CLEAR WHETHER UKRAINE USED A DRONE, CRUISE MISSILE OR SOLDIERS ON THE GROUND TO TAKE OUT THE CAPE TARKHANKUT MISSILE SITE BUT THE RESULTS ARE THE SAME.

AN S-400 MISSILE BATTERY, A BASTION ANTI-SHIP CRUISE MISSILE BATTERY AND A HOST OF RADARS WERE ALL DESTROYED. UKRAINE’S INTELLIGENCE SERVICE ADDED EVERY RUSSIAN SOLDIER AT THE SITE WAS ALSO RELIEVED OF LIFE.

THE MISSILE SITE WAS ABSOLUTELY VITAL TO RUSSIA’S DEFENSE STRATEGY IN CRIMEA, SOUTHERN UKRAINE, AND THE WESTERN CORRIDOR OF THE BLACK SEA. UKRAINE IS TRYING TO CUT OFF CRIMEA AND SOUTHERN UKRAINE FROM THE REST OF THE RUSSIAN FORCES. RUSSIA ANTICIPATED THIS STRATEGY, WHICH IS WHY THE AIR AND NAVAL DEFENSES WERE SET UP AT THE CAPE. WITH THOSE ASSETS NOW A SMOLDERING PILE, UKRAINE’S AMBITION TO CREATE A CRIMEAN BLOCKADE IS THAT MUCH CLOSER TO REALITY.

LESS THAN A DAY AFTER THE MISSILE BATTERIES WERE DESTROYED, UKRAINIAN SPECIAL FORCES REPORTEDLY CARRIED OUT A MISSION IN CRIMEA, AND EVEN HAD TIME TO RAISE A UKRAINIAN FLAG IN THE TERRITORY, WHICH RUSSIA ILLEGALLY ANNEXED IN 2014.

IF UKRAINE SUCCEEDS IN CUTTING OFF CRIMEA FROM RUSSIA, IT COULD RECAPTURE THE TERRITORY WITH MINIMAL COMBAT.

THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MISSILE SITE, COUPLED WITH THE REPORTED DEATH OF PRIGOZHIN ON THE SAME DAY IS SURELY ENOUGH TO GIVE UKRAINE A MORALE BOOST. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

AUGUST 23RD HAD A CHERRY ON TOP FOR UKRAINE. AFTER MONTHS OF SECRET NEGOTIATIONS A RUSSIAN HELICOPTER PILOT SUCCESSFULLY DEFECTED TO UKRAINE. THE PILOT LANDED HIS Mi-8–WHICH WAS CARRYING PARTS FOR RUSSIAN JET FIGHTERS–AT A BASE IN UKRAINE. WHILE THE PILOT’S DEFECTION WAS PLANNED, THE OTHER TWO CREW MEMBERS ABOARD WERE UNWILLING TO SURRENDER, SO UKRAINE’S MILITARY INTELLIGENCE SAID THEY WERE ELIMINATED.

WE HAVE PLENTY MORE UNBIASED, STRAIGHT FACT REPORTING ABOUT THE WAR IN UKRAINE. YOU CAN SEE THOSE STORIES RIGHT ON YOUR PHONE BY DOWNLOADING THE STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS APP. YOU CAN ALSO HEAD OVER TO SAN.COM.