Russia’s Wagner fighters suffer 30,000 casualties in Ukraine: says US


Washington: The Russian mercenary company Wagner Group has suffered more than 30,000 casualties since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with about 9,000 of those fighters killed in action, the White House said on Friday.

The United States estimates that 90 per cent of Wagner group soldiers killed in Ukraine since December were convicts, White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a regular briefing.

According to US intelligence half of the overall deaths among Wagner mercenaries have occurred since mid-December, as fighting in Ukraine’s eastern city of Bakhmut intensified.

Kirby said the mercenary group had made incremental gains in and around Bakhmut over the last few days but those advances had taken many months to achieve and came at a “devastating cost that is not sustainable”.

“It is possible that they may end up being successful in Bakhmut but it will prove of no real worth to them because it is of no real strategic value,” he said, adding that Ukrainian forces would maintain strong defensive lines across the Donbas region.

Kirby told reporters that Wagner continued to rely heavily on convicts, who were sent to war with no training or equipment, despite recent comments from Wagner’s founder Yevgeny Prigozhin that he had stopped recruiting prisoners to fight in Ukraine.

Who are Wagner Group?

The private Russian military company has been around since long before the war began in Ukraine. “Wagner almost certainly now commands 50,000 fighters in Ukraine and has become a key component of the Ukraine campaign,” according to the UK Ministry of Defence.

The group is controlled by Prigozhin who is known as “Putin’s chef” for his many catering contracts through a network of front companies. The company emerged for the first time during Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014.

With inputs from agencies. 

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Russia’s Wagner fighters suffer 30,000 casualties in Ukraine: says US
Russia’s Wagner fighters suffer 30,000 casualties in Ukraine: says US
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