A significant number of former Wagner fighters are reportedly taking part in the ongoing and extremely costly Russian attack on the town of Andiivka, but their situation is “good but not great” due to high casualties.
In an interview with a Russian military correspondent earlier this week, the commander of Russia’s Arbat Special Guard Battalion said that part of the unit was made up almost entirely of former mercenaries.
The Russian report positively assessed the fighters’ performance, saying in a Telegram post accompanying the video: “At the moment the guys are working towards Avdiivka and as practice shows, they are successful!”
However, the commander in the interview was more cautious and described the battalion’s situation at the front as “good, but not great” due to the large losses of personnel.
The Institute for the Study of War wrote in its daily assessment on Saturday: “The correspondent also pointed out that the Arbat battalion is part of the Russian Armed Forces and it is likely that the brigade consists of former Wagner members who have military contracts signed directly with the Russian Ministry of Defense after the rebellion and/or his death of Wagner financier Yevgeny Prigozhin.”
It is likely that the actual situation in which the former Wagner mercenaries find themselves is far worse than the Russian media or the commander has described.
EXPLAINED: Record Russian troop losses, ‘executions’ and a Kremlin in denial
Russia’s personnel losses are so high and morale so low that soldiers are being executed for disobeying orders – something the US calls “reprehensible.”
The toll on Russian troops as they tried to take Avdiivka was enormous – in a phone call with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier this week, President Zelensky said Moscow had lost an entire brigade.
“Russia will continue to try to occupy the entire Donbass,” he said. “The invaders made several attempts to encircle Avdiivka, but our soldiers stopped them and pushed them back each time, causing them painful losses.
“In these attempts, the enemy lost at least one brigade.” A military brigade can consist of 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers. Zelensky’s claim was echoed by the White House, which said Thursday that Russia had lost “thousands” of soldiers, had “no regard for the lives of its soldiers” and even executed those who refused to fight.
Source : www.kyivpost.com