This raises fears of attacks on Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Russian neo-Nazi paramilitary group “Rusych ” has announced that it is gathering intelligence on border and military activity in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, raising concerns about whether far-right Russian groups are planning attacks on NATO countries. The Guardian writes about this.
Last week, the official Telegram channel of the group, which is already fighting against Ukraine on behalf of the Kremlin and is associated with the “Wagner Group”, asked its subscribers to send detailed information about the border posts and military movements in the three Baltic countries, which used to be part of the Soviet Union.
The news raised questions about who is in overall command of far-right pro-Kremlin groups fighting against Ukraine.
The Rusych group is closely linked to the Wagner Group, a military company run by a close ally of the president. Vladimir Putin's Kremlin and which is currently leading the Russian offensive to capture the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which is one of the fiercest battles in Russia's war against Ukraine.
Sources of the publication said on condition of anonymity that such a move by the neo-Nazi group may indicate its disappointment in the Kremlin and dissatisfaction with the way Putin's war against Ukraine is going. The Kremlin risks losing control over its far-right paramilitary organizations, which may use more extreme methods to continue the war against Ukraine, raising fears of an escalation if the NATO country is attacked.
According to the sources, it is unlikely that the Kremlin is directly involved in such a move by the group, since the Russian spy service undoubtedly already has intelligence on military and border activities in the Baltic states.
“Does this indicate a split within the Russian systems? What will happen if the Russians lose control over them [paramilitary groups] and they start taking unauthorized actions that could accidentally escalate the situation? The real question is how much the Kremlin actually controls the situation?”, the publication's source said.
Recent reports suggest that some paramilitary groups, such as the Wagner Group, founded by influential Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, already have considerable autonomy and the same access to Putin as official government officials.
Although there have been recent reports of interaction between Rusych and online channels affiliated with the Wagner Group, it remains unclear to what extent the group operates under the strategic supervision of Wagner or even the Russian Ministry of Defense.
“Rusich” positions itself as a sabotage and intelligence group, although its frequent attempts at crowdfunding indicate that it does not enjoy effective support from Russian logistics operations.
Recently, the operators of the official Russian-language channel “Rusich” in Telegram published message asking users in the Baltic States to anonymously share information related to military and related infrastructure.
The post, which has been viewed by more than 60,000 users, contained a call for information about military units with specific references to the data and occupations of servicemen, their relatives and personal transport. The post also contained a call to provide information on the movement of patrols, the location of border posts, surveillance systems and vehicles.
Similarly, information was requested about communication towers and security apparatus at the border, as well as coordinates of fuel depots and security systems in border areas.
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“Rusich” fighters, known for their brutality in Syria and during the war in Crimea in 2014, were seen in Donbas, Kharkiv region and Kherson. In September, the US Treasury Department announced the introduction of sanctions against the group. Also, the administration of US President Joe Biden is considering the possibility of adding the Wagner Group to the list of foreign terrorist organizations.