The head of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner affirmed this Sunday that his troops had taken the control of the Ukrainian town of Krasna Hora, a few kilometers north of Bakhmuta key city that Moscow has been seeking to conquer for several months.
“Today, Wagner’s assault units seized the town of Krasna Hora,” he declared. Yevgeny Prigozhin, quoted by his press service. The news agency AFP he was unable to verify these statements with an independent source.
For more than six months, the Wagner group and the Russian army have been trying to capture Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, a city with a strategic importance limited but which has become a symbol after so long of fighting.
In recent weeks, Russian forces have attempted to encircle the city and have managed to cut off several crucial roads for supplying Ukrainian troops there.
On January 11, the Wagner group announced that it had taken solder, a major city located near Krasna Hora. But the Russian Defense Ministry took two days to announce the conquest of Soledar, exposing tensions between the militia and the regular army.
“After the capture of Soledar, there was a stir as to whether others (soldiers), apart from Wagner’s fighters, were in Soledar. Of course the guys were not happy,” Prigozhin said on Sunday. “In a radius of 50 km, more or less, there are only Wagner fighters and they are going to take Bakhmut”he assured.
Whether the Kremlin likes it or not, the only good news from the front comes from the mercenaries of the Wagner group. Prigozhin explained that he no longer recruits inmates, a practice that puts the Russian Ministry of Defense in a very bad light, which, according to some bloggers, would have ordered Wagner’s presence in the media to be reduced as much as possible.
UKRAINE ADMITS RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE
Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported in its daily report the destruction of arsenals along the entire front line from northeastern Kharkiv to southern Kherson via Donetsk and Lugansk, attacks in which hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers would have died, including two mechanized brigades in the Kupiansk (Kharkiv) area and a detachment in Vuhledar (Donetsk). According to various Ukrainian and Western sources, these would be the first steps of the offensive general ordered by Putin.
In this regard, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksy Danilov, admitted last night that Moscow had already started this “great offensive”, but that it would be running into “big problems” at the beginning.
“The offensive they were planning is gradually advancing. But It is not the offensive that they expected”, he assured, in statements to Ukrainian television.
According to Danilov, the Ukrainian forces would be opposing a “great resistance”. The best examples would be Avdiivka, on the outskirts of the capital Donetsk, and Vuhledar, where the Russians have suffered heavy losses and are still failing to storm the city.
According to Ukrainian sources, in three days (8-10) of assault against both towns, the Russian army would have lost several thousand men and more than a hundred tanks, armored vehicles and other military vehicles.
In the last two weeks, according to the British Ministry of Defence, which is based on official Ukrainian data, Russia has lost an average of 824 men per day, five times more than in July 2022 (170), but still far from the 1,140 casualties. daily from the beginning of the military campaign.
THE DOUBTS PERSIST
Russian military bloggers continue to harbor serious doubts that the army can conquer the entirety of the annexed territories, while some pro-Russian officers in Donbas are even urging the Russian high command to change their strategy.
The American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) also considers that Russia does not have the potential to launch a major mechanized ground offensiveeven more so after losing, according to some sources, half of its tanks for a year.
Prigozhin went even further by assuring that Moscow will need about two years to reach the administrative border of Donetsk.
In turn, Ukrainian Military Intelligence insisted this Sunday that “the Russian command does not have sufficient resources to launch large-scale offensive actions” and that it will have to settle for tactical victories.
kyiv points out that Russian aviation and artillery have already spent 80% of their precision missiles and that the military industry has not yet managed to replenish that arsenal.
With information from EuropaPress and EFE
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