Ukraine uses Russian social media post to destroy Wagner HQ: claim
A Ukrainian government source said Russian media reports about the base in Popasna in eastern Ukraine led to the Ukrainian missile strike.
It was rumoured that Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner group’s leader, known as “Putin’s chef”, was among the many mercenaries supposedly killed in the blast.
Rumours have spread that Prigozhin is missing.
Sergei Sreda shared a picture of him shaking hands with a man resembling Prigozhin – a close confidant of Putin – at the Wagner base last week
A pro-Putin reporter known as Kotenok posted on Telegram: “A strike was carried out on one of the Wagner PMC [private military company] locations in Popasna. Sources in Donbas confirm that. Probably ‘Himars’. Ukrainian sources report the death of Prigozhin. We don’t confirm that.”
Prigozhin, who faces western sanctions, was at the Wagner HQ to give out medals to mark the “liberation” of Popasna, according to Sreda’s post.
Prigozhin is known as Putin’s chef because his firms have provided Kremlin catering services.
Russia has allegedly deployed up to 20,000 private sector fighters from Syria and Libya, including Wagner members, to Ukraine.
Wagner is accused of war crimes, including robberies, rapes and torture, in Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic.
Ukrainian parliamentarian Oleksiy Honcharenko posted on Facebook: “There is no more Wagner HQ in Popasna. Thank you, Himars and the armed forces of Ukraine!”
Photos on Telegram show people being carried away from rubble on stretchers.
As is often the case in the Ukraine war, reports and rumours are difficult to verify.
Amid reports of Russian losses in Ukraine, the Wagner group was deployed to boost the numbers of Putin’s forces.
Russian convicts in July were offered freedom and financial rewards to fight in Ukraine, according to fighters’ relatives. Prisoners at the Yablonevka and Obukhovo prison camps near St Petersburg were reportedly offered pardons and around US$4,000 for joining Wagner and conducting a six-month tour of Ukraine.
Wagner employees visited prisons and tried to recruit inmates to “defend the motherland”.
It was reported that ex-prisoners would be taken to the frontlines and straight into dangerous combat or into perilous reconnaissance work while being warned of their low chances of survival.
Wagner group personnel. Picture credit: YouTube