Ukraine hits Russian Wagner mercenary HQ in east

August 16, 2022 5:46 am

[Source: BBC]

Ukrainian artillery has struck a headquarters of Russia’s shadowy Wagner paramilitary group of mercenaries in eastern Ukraine, reports say.

The extent of damage to the military base of the group – which has been linked to war crimes – is not clear.

Luhansk’s governor claims its secret location was revealed after a Russian journalist shared its address.

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Last week, pro-Kremlin correspondent Sergei Sreda posted a photo on Telegram of the base with its apparent address.

The image, shared on the social media site but since deleted, shows five people in military uniform with a street sign in Popasna, Luhansk visible in the top left corner.

The BBC has not been able to confirm whether the strike, which has been reported by both the Ukrainian Luhansk governor and pro-Kremlin war reporters, was initiated as a result of the image.

The Wagner group was deployed to Crimea and Ukraine’s Donbas region in 2014, when Kremlin-backed forces ousted Ukrainian troops from areas they later declared to be part of Russia.

Wagner units have also been sent to Syria, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic.

The Kremlin does not acknowledge Wagner’s existence, but Western intelligence links the group to Yevgeny Prigozhin – nicknamed “Putin’s chef” because his catering business has long helped President Vladimir Putin and the armed forces.

Mr Prigozhin, like many other Russian officials, is subject to Western sanctions.

Wagner is known as a PMC – private military company. But they are state-sponsored mercenaries who act in the Kremlin’s interests, Western experts say. They have been accused of repeated war crimes and human rights abuses.