The claims come a week after Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of a private military company, led his men in an unsuccessful rebellion against Moscow.
Courtesy | “These are huge losses for Wagner’s PMC,” Zelensky insisted.
At least 21,000 Wagner mercenaries have been killed in Ukraine, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Ukrainian leader said the private military company had suffered “huge losses”, particularly in eastern Ukraine, where his “most powerful group” is fighting.
“Our troops killed 21,000 Wagnerites in eastern Ukraine alone,” Zelensky told reporters in Kyiv on Saturday, adding that 80,000 Wagner fighters were wounded.
“These are huge losses for Wagner’s PMC,” said Zelensky, who characterized his fighters as “motivated cadres of the Russian army” and mostly criminals with “nothing to lose.”
CNN could not independently verify Zelensky’s statement, which was made during a Spanish press conference that coincided with a visit to Kyiv by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
Sanchez’s third visit to Ukraine.
It follows news that Spain has taken over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union and that CIA Director William Burns recently traveled to Ukraine to meet with Zelensky and Ukrainian intelligence officials.
Zelensky’s claims about Wagner’s losses come a week after Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of a private military company, led his men in an unsuccessful rebellion against Moscow.
Wagner’s troops marched toward the Russian capital, taking control of military installations in two Russian cities, Prigozhin said in response to a Russian military attack on the Wagner camp that would derail a deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Crisis.
The future of the Wagner group is now uncertain, with the deal brokered by Lukashenko requiring Prigozhin to relocate to Belarus, with the option for his fighters to join the Russian armed forces or law enforcement agencies and return with their families and friends. Or even go to Belarus.
In his speech on Saturday, Zelensky said Prigozhin’s rebellion had “drastically affected Russian power on the battlefield” and would benefit a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
“We must take advantage of this situation to drive the enemy out of our land,” Zelensky said.
“They are losing the war. They don’t have any more victories on the battlefield in Ukraine, so they start blaming somebody,” he said.
However, he said the counter-attack would not be rushed as he respected human life and had to be tactical when deploying troops.
Asked by a journalist if he was in danger and feared for his life, Zelensky replied: “It’s more dangerous for Putin than for me, honestly. Because only in Russia they want to kill me, the whole world wants to kill him.
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