10:13 18 Jul 2022

russia's Wagner mercenaries suffer heavy losses in Donbas battles – British intelligence

The Wagner private military company's mercenary units suffered heavy losses in battles with Ukrainian defenders east of Ukraine.

The UK's Ministry of Defense reports on Twitter.

"russia has used private military company Wagner to reinforce front-line forces and to mitigate manning shortfalls and casualties. Wagner has almost certainly played a central role in recent fighting, including the capture of Popasna and Lysychansk. This fighting has inflicted heavy casualties on the group," the defense department said.

The Ministry of Defense added that the Wagner mercenaries were lowering their recruitment standards and recruiting convicts and previously black-listed people.

"Very limited training is made available to new recruits. This will highly likely impact on the future operational effectiveness of the group and will reduce its value as a prop to the regular Russian forces," the intelligence added.

The British Intelligence report also mentions that Wagner's head, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, has recently been made a Hero of the russian federation for Wagner's performance in Luhansk. 

"This, at a time when a number of very senior russian military commanders are being replaced, is likely to exacerbate grievances between the military and Wagner. It is also likely to impact negatively on russian military morale," the report concluded.

As reported, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced that Ukraine's defenders, from February 24 to July 18, eliminated about 38 thousand 450 russian invaders, which is 150 more people than the previous day.

Earlier, the head of the UK's armed forces said russia had already "strategically lost" the war in Ukraine and is now a "more diminished power." Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said russia was suffering heavy losses, running out of troops and advanced missiles, and would never be able to take over all of Ukraine.

After Ukrainian forces captured the pilot of a Russian Su-25 FROGFOOT ground attack jet shot down on June 17, they established that it was a former Russian air force major employed as a Wagner military contractor and had flown several missions during the war. The UK's Ministry of Defense believes the use of retired personnel, now working as Wagner contractors, to conduct close air support missions indicates that the russian air force likely is struggling to support the invasion of Ukraine with sufficient aircrew.


The Wagner Group is a russian paramilitary organization that has been active over the past eight years in Ukraine, Syria, and Africa. It has repeatedly been accused of war crimes and human rights abuses.

In 2015 the Wagner Group operated in Syria, fighting alongside pro-government forces and guarding oilfields, using banned chemical weapons.

A BBC investigation into the Wagner Group has shown evidence that the Wagner mercenaries who took part in Libya's civil war on the side of a rebel general, Khalifa Haftar, repeatedly committed war crimes, including the intentional killing of civilians.

The United Nations and the French government have accused Wagner mercenaries of committing rapes and robberies against civilians in the Central African Republic. The EU has imposed sanctions on them for this.

Russia has consistently denied Wagner has any connection with the state.

Read Rubryka's daily timeline of war: current news on Ukraine's defense against russia's aggression.

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