Europe News Desk!! White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that since Moscow’s February 24, 2022 invasion of Ukraine, more than 30,000 members of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group have suffered casualties. Kirby made the remarks during a press briefing at the White House on Friday. About 9,000 were killed in action, Kirby said, and about half of those had been killed since mid-December. Wagner Group, which is owned by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, currently has about 50,000 personnel stationed in Ukraine. In January, Kirby announced that the United States would designate the Wagner Group as an international criminal organization for atrocities and human rights abuses in Ukraine and elsewhere.
During Friday’s briefing, Kirby further stated that Wagner recruited heavily from Russian prisons. Most of the casualties were untrained. Despite casualties, Wagner made advances around the town of Bakhmut. According to the BBC, Ukrainian soldiers say that Wagner fighters were sent in large numbers to attack open ground. A spokesman for the Ukrainian military said Moscow had failed to evacuate wounded and dead soldiers. The capture of Bakhmut could allow the Russians to advance towards larger cities such as Kramatorsk and Sloviansk. However, Kirby noted that further progress may prove difficult. He also questioned the military importance of the city. It is possible that they may succeed at Bakhmut, but it will prove to be of no real value to them, as it has no real strategic value, Kirby told reporters.
World News Desk!!!