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Jacobson Speaks with MSNBC About Prigozhin, Emergence of Mercenary Fighting in Ukraine

January 20, 2023


A paramilitary outfit is making gains for Russia in eastern Ukraine. The Wagner Group, as the militia is known, is operated by Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin.

"The Prigozhin story is really fascinating from a couple of standpoints," says Mark Jacobson, assistant dean for Washington programs. "First, we know that Putin’s Achille’s heel is the domestic situation so if there’s some tension and turmoil in the domestic politics this is probably a good thing in terms of Putin having to focus on these domestic levers, being worried about victories abroad that speak to the need for a new leader," he says.

"On the other hand, this could be really horrible for the Ukrainian people," Jacobson says. "There’s no loyalty of these soldiers to anything other than money. These are private, these are mercenaries. I also think, as we look at the history of the Wagner Group, there’s certainly almost a 100 percent certainty that there will be war crimes committed and I worry about the brutality on the battlefield there."

Watch the full interview via MSNBC.

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