Members of the Wagner Group walk during a Russian military operation near the town of Bakhmut, Donetsk. Photo/Sputnik/Viktor Antonyuk
MOSCOW – The head of the private military company (PMC) Wagner Group Evgeny Prigozhin described the defeat of Ukraine in the battle for the cities of Artryomovsk or Bakhmut as almost fatal for the entire military of Kiev.
According to him, the sacrifices made by his group for Russia were worth it.
“Until today, the battle for Bakhmut has almost destroyed the Ukrainian army,” Prigozhin said in a statement on Wednesday (29/3/2023), using the city’s name after Kiev.
He said his own Wagner Group company also took a “serious blow” in the battle.
He called the battle the “common engagement” of the entire conflict in which Wagner’s forces were pitted against the Ukrainian armed forces and “foreign units were installed in them”.
The victory of his army would be a “turning point” and a historic event, securing Russia’s victory, according to Prigozhin’s prediction.
“The Russian army itself will be left on the chessboard, and all other pieces will be removed,” he predicted.
He added, “Even if PMC Wagner is crushed in a Bakhmut meat grinder but takes the Ukrainian soldiers with them… it means we have completed our historic mission.”
The fight for Artyomovsk has emerged as one of the most intense and bloody engagements of the armed conflict in Ukraine, with both sides reportedly suffering heavy casualties.
Western officials claim the city has no strategic military value, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to defend it as long as possible after proclaiming it a stronghold.
The Ukrainian leader made clear to The Associated Press earlier this week that if Russia seized Artyomovsk, his government would be under international and domestic pressure to seek peace with Moscow.
“Our people will feel tired,” he told the news agency, “Our people will encourage me to compromise with them.”
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