World news

the Russian group Wagner scores points

As Soledar, a small town in eastern Ukraine known for its massive salt mine, looks set to fall to Russian forces, commentators were arguing over whether a photo was genuine or not. circulating on the Internet Wednesday, January 11. We see the head of the private armed group Wagner, Evgueni Prigojine, in the middle of his mercenaries, posing in a room that looks like a tunnel of the salt deposit. “Wagner’s units have taken control of the entire territory of Soledar”, he said, adding that his organization had launched the assault against the town alone.

His photo and his declarations reacted to the top of the Kremlin. “There is no need to rush”, tempered Dmitri Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman. The fighting seemed indeed to continue in western Soledar, still defended by Ukrainian fighters. Many observers, however, expect to see Ukrainian troops abandon the largely destroyed town at some point.

It would be the first major success for Wagner’s men on the Ukrainian front since the start of the invasion on February 24, 2022, but also the first conquest of Russia since the capture of Lyssytchansk, further north, in July 2022.

A private army of 50,000 men

The paramilitary group continued to rise as the Russian army got bogged down in eastern Ukraine. He concentrates his efforts in the Battle of Bakhmout, the epicenter of the most violent fighting today, where the belligerents are swallowing up men and equipment at a frantic pace.

According to American estimates, Wagner would have deployed 50,000 men on Ukrainian soil, including 40,000 volunteers recruited in recent months in Russian prisons against the promise of an amnesty. The rest is made up of “musicians”, the nickname for the most seasoned mercenaries in the organization. The cost of its operations would amount to around 100 million euros per month.

Wagner cultivates an old and close relationship with the Ukrainian conflict. The group took off during the first Donbass war in the spring of 2014, when the Kremlin delegated to them the task of supporting and organizing pro-Russian militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. A thousand former soldiers then participated in attacks against the Ukrainian authorities, until the stabilization of the front in February 2015.

The group then left to support Bashar Al Assad’s regime in Syria, before multiplying operations in Africa: Libya, Central Africa, Mali and Mozambique. Each time, he tries, with more or less success, to settle there permanently by draining the local mining resources.

“Heavy Losses”

Back in Ukraine thanks to the invasion, Wagner transformed himself into a veritable private army equipped with tanks, helicopters and battle artillery. “It is obvious to us that Wagner is on the way to becoming a rival power to the regular Russian army and other Russian ministries,” affirms John Kirby, spokesman for the White House, who assures that the influence in the Kremlin of the leader of the group, Evgueni Prigojine, is only” increase “.

For Washington, Wagner’s forces “poorly equipped and poorly trained”would nevertheless suffer from “heavy losses” on the front line.

Source : BBN NEWS

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