“A column of military equipment made it to within about 120 miles of Moscow, relatively unabated,” Slavic Gospel Association’s Vice President of Ministry Operations Eric Mock says.
“An initial engagement happened along the way; helicopters and other aircraft were attacking the column, and then those aircraft were wiped out.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed pilot deaths during a speech on Tuesday, his first public address since the so-called “mutiny.” Over the weekend, United States diplomats assured their Russian colleagues that the U.S. was not involved.
“We had nothing to do with it. This was part of a struggle within the Russian system,” U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters yesterday.
Several questions remain unanswered. Why did the Kremlin seemingly concede to Prigozhin’s demands in a Belarus-brokered “negotiation?” The mercenaries had no real chance at military victory; Russia’s military has roughly one million active personnel compared to Wagner Group’s 50,000-fighter maximum.
Furthermore, Russian authorities initially detained Prigozhin and charged him with “inciting an armed revolt.” The same officials abruptly ended their investigation yesterday. Wagner fighters were told to set up shop in Belarus, join the Russian military, or go home.
“Much of what we see in the media is from the outside. But what was happening inside was probably different,” Mock says.
“One of the challenges we have [is] what they term ‘the fog of war;’ it’s very difficult to see what was really happening.”
Only time will tell if the incident has any long-term effect on Russia’s war in Ukraine. For now, “the situation on the ground remains unchanged,” Mock says.
“As many as 1,000 men are dying daily in the war that we’ve all seen for a year and a half.”
“SGA continues to focus on serving churches on the front line,” Mock says.
“In the middle of these very difficult days, people are coming to faith. We’re seeing churches [that previously had only] 10 or 15 people now have 100 people.”
Header image shows Russian President Vladimir Putin during a 2022 virtual discussion. (Wikimedia Commons)