Wagner chief reveals losses in fight for key Donbass city — RT Russia and the former Soviet Union
Ukrainian casualties in the battle of Artyomovsk were several times higher than Russian casualties, claimed Evgeny Prigozhin
The head of the private Wagner military company, Evgeny Prigozhin, revealed that the group lost around 20,000 servicemen during the liberation of the strategic Donbass town of Artyomovsk, also known as Bakhmut, from Ukrainian forces.
In an interview published by Wagner’s press service on Tuesday, Prigozhin said that during the long battle he had strengthened the company’s ranks with 50,000 inmates of Russian prisons, who were offered the opportunity to fight instead of serving their sentence.
“About 20% of them died”, said Prigozhin. “The casualties among them were the same as among those who enlisted under contract with us.”
This suggests that Wagner’s losses in Artyomovsk, which is a key colony of the Russian Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), amounted to some 10,000 former prisoners and 10,000 professional military personnel.
About 20% of Wagner’s forces had also suffered injuries that would take at least three months to recover from, Prigozhin said.
However, he insisted that the Ukrainian army had suffered far greater losses in what he previously called “the Bakhmut meat grinder.”
“We destroyed 50,000 soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (in Artyomovsk)”, claimed Chief Wagner, adding that another 50,000 to 70,000 were seriously injured.
Prigozhin announced on Saturday that the operation to take over Artyomovsk, which had been led by Wagner, had been completed and the city had been “entirely captured.” The battle for the main logistics center has been going on for 224 days, he added.
The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed later the same day that the city had been taken, with President Vladimir Putin congratulating Wagner’s military and regular Russian military troops for their success.
Ukraine, which previously claimed that Artyomovsk would be defended at all costs and become a turning point in the conflict between Moscow and Kyiv, has so far refused to admit the loss of the city.
Russian region explains why it uses Artyomovsk instead of Bakhmut
On Sunday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said the settlement “is only in our hearts” when his American counterpart Joe Biden asked him at the G7 summit in Japan if kyiv still controlled Artyomovsk. A few hours later, Zelensky changed his position and denied that the settlement was “occupied by Russia”.
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