US administration: Wagner group has suffered a massive numbers of casualties in Ukraine
Russia’s private military group, Wagner Group, has suffered more than 30,000 deaths since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, with nearly 9,000 of those fighters killed in combat, the White House said on Friday.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a regular briefing that the United States estimates that 90% of the Wagner Group members who have died in Ukraine since December are convicted prisoners.
Half of the total death toll has occurred since mid-December, with fighting intensifying in the eastern city of Bakhmut, a National Security Council spokesman said, citing intelligence.
Kirby said the Wagner Group had made incremental gains in and around Bakhmut over the past few days, but those gains took several months to achieve and came at a devastating and unsustainable cost.
“They will probably end up succeeding at Bakhmut, but that will prove to be of no real value because it has no real strategic value,” he said.
He added that the Ukrainian forces will maintain strong defensive lines across the Donbas region.
Kirby told reporters that Wagner still relied heavily on convicts sent to war without training or equipment, despite Wagner’s founder Yevgeny Prigozhine recently announcing he would stop recruiting prisoners to fight in Ukraine.