The Ukrainian conflict has been a source of tension between Russia and Ukraine since 2014 and the involvement of a private military organisation known as Wagner has only exacerbated the situation. The head of Wagner, Dmitry Utkin, has recently spoken out about his ambitions for the organisation and the ideology he believes it should embody.
Utkin, a former Russian intelligence officer, believes that Wagner should be an “army with an ideology” and that it should be “more than just an instrument of war”. He envisions a group that is ideologically driven, with a distinct set of principles and beliefs that it follows.
Utkin has been an outspoken advocate for the use of private military forces in the Ukrainian conflict, arguing that they are necessary to maintain the balance of power between Russia and Ukraine. He sees Wagner as a key force in this regard, and has sought to train and equip the organisation to the highest standards.
Wagner has been accused of being involved in a number of controversial incidents, including the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in 2014. Utkin has denied any involvement by Wagner in the incident, but the organisation remains a controversial presence in the conflict.
Utkin's ambitions for Wagner have been met with a mixed response from observers. Some are sceptical of his plans for the organisation, arguing that its use in the Ukrainian conflict has only served to escalate tensions between the two countries. Others, however, view Utkin's vision as an opportunity to bring an ideological perspective to the conflict, which could help to de-escalate tensions between the two sides.
Only time will tell if Utkin's ambitions for Wagner will be realised and if it will become the “army with an ideology” he desires. In the meantime, observers will be watching closely to see how the organisation progresses and how it continues to play a role in the Ukrainian conflict.