Not only regular soldiers from the Russian and Ukrainian Army fell, but also mercenaries from the controversial Wagner group. Unlike defense ministries, mercenaries do acknowledge that their combatants fall. Many of those who sign up for these forces are prisoners in Russian jails with nothing to lose.
Ukrainian soldiers have been pointing out for several months the real carnage and the enormous amount of death that occurs in the Russian ranks due to their military strategy in which they literally become “cannon fodder”.
Well, this same Thursday it was the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner himself who declared that his forces continue to suffer losses. In a published video, the controversial Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former friend and “chef” of Vladimir Putin, was seen, visiting a cemetery where the group’s fighters are buried.
The AFP agency recalls that Wagner’s forces have led offensives in eastern Ukraine, including the city of Bakhmut, which has become the longest and bloodiest battle of the Russian military campaign. Both sides have suffered heavy losses around Bakhmut.
A video distributed by his press service showed Wagner’s boss, Yevgeny Prigozhinbefore dozens of tombs with wooden crosses and flower crowns.
“They continue to bury Wagner’s fighters here, today there are no problems,” Prigozhin said in the video, referring to the private military company he founded.
Yevgeny Prigozhin downplays the matter, but he does acknowledge that the cemetery is “growing.”
“Those who fight sometimes die. That’s how life works,” he said.
Precisely today, the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom explained that in recent days, “Russian forces have regained some momentum in the battle for Bakhmut. Since the end of March 2023, their advance had largely stalled.”
“It is highly probable that (Russia) has advanced towards the center of the city and has seized the western bank of the Bakhmutka river,” asserted the British Defense Ministry, which also warned that probably the “main supply route ” to the west of Bakhmut is now “severely threatened”.
Likewise, according to the EFE news agency, London estimates that the Russian Armed Forces have sent airborne troops to Bakhmut to reinforce the area; at the same time that they are using artillery “more effectively” in this territory.
All this, added to a possible rapprochement of positions between the Russian military high command and the leadership of the Wagner Groupthus causing greater cooperation between the parties, has led to further progress in Bakhmut.
Bakhmut has been the scene of the main clashes between Russia and Ukraine on the eastern flank of the war for weeks. Earlier in the week, the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeni Prigozhin, claimed that the Moscow-friendly mercenary group had finally taken the city.
The Russian authorities have not given updated estimates of casualties since September 2022, when the Defense Ministry counted 5,937 dead.
This figure does not include Wagner fighters, who are not part of the conventional Army.
estimates Westerners point to some 150,000 dead and wounded on each side. Recently, the UK Ministry of Defence, through British intelligence, estimated Russian casualties at 200,000.
Founded in 2014, Wagner has been involved in conflicts in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Prigozhin had recruited prisoners for months until February, promising them amnesty upon their return to Russia if they survived the fighting in Ukraine.