A significant game-changer has emerged in the Ukraine conflict following a six-month hiatus. Putin’s brainchild, the Wagner group, led by late warlord Yevgeny Prighozin, is making a comeback to the front lines. This development spells trouble for Kyiv and signifies a concerning shift in the ongoing war.
The ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive is about to take a significant turn. Reports from a senior Ukrainian military official confirm the return of mercenaries from the Russian Wagner Group to the front lines in Ukraine.
According to media reports, Ukrainian wiretapping and reconnaissance operations have substantiated this claim, indicating the return of approximately 500 former Wagner Group forces to eastern Ukraine. Notably, these mercenaries, previously led by warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin, had been absent from the battleground following Prigozhin’s death and a mutiny episode.
Contrary to expectations, around 200 Wagner mercenaries are also being deployed in Belarus, serving as instructors. However, the recent influx of 500 mercenaries back into eastern Ukraine marks a notable escalation.
The Failing Counteroffensive: Ukraine Fizzles Out
Kyiv’s military spokesperson, Illya Yevlash, has also confirmed this development. It’s essential to note that this return occurs at a strategic moment for Russia, coinciding with a slowdown in the Ukrainian counteroffensive. This situation suggests a calculated move by Russia, potentially altering the dynamics of the conflict in the region.
The Ukrainian counteroffensive, once touted with great fervor, has faltered significantly, revealing its true might, or rather, the lack thereof. Despite three months of aggressive efforts, Ukrainian forces have failed to reclaim Russian-captured territories, highlighting the extent of the hype surrounding their efforts.
The toll of this failure has been devastating, with Russia reporting 17,000 Ukrainian troops martyred and 10,000 surrendering, while Western estimates suggest a staggering loss of 500,000 Ukrainian soldiers in the war.
This failed counteroffensive has not only resulted in a grave loss of life but has also become a contentious issue for Western supporters of Ukraine, such as the US and EU. Doubts are surfacing about the efficacy of their assistance, leading to hesitations in providing aid.
For instance, the US initially hesitated to supply Ukraine with ATACMS long-range missiles, highlighting the growing reluctance of nations to support the faltering campaign.
The ground war, once at a standstill, now faces a new dynamic with the deployment of Wagner mercenaries. The Wagner Group’s return to the Ukrainian theater has instilled a palpable worry within Ukrainian forces, despite attempts to downplay the threat. Wagner’s historical menace to Ukraine remains unabated, proving to be a persistent concern.
Wagner Group Returns: Time for Counter-attack
Russia’s use of this private militia has been pivotal, enabling swift gains in Ukraine. Notably, in July 2022, Russian armed forces retreated from Kherson and Kharkiv, facing setbacks in these regions. However, the tide shifted dramatically when Russia deployed the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) into Ukraine. Subsequently, Ukraine suffered significant losses, including crucial areas like Bakhmut and Soledar.
Wagner’s formidable arsenal includes planes, tanks, missile systems, and rocket launchers. Remarkably, they recruited inmates from Russian prisons and various other nations, diversifying their forces. This eclectic composition is augmented by their possession of Su-25 planes, T-90 tanks, S-300 missile systems, thermobaric rocket launchers, heavy artillery, and air defense missile systems.
Given this diverse armament and their past strategic successes, the Wagner Group is anticipated to play a substantial role in upcoming military campaigns before the winter break, further escalating Russian efforts in the Ukrainian conflict.
Despite Ukraine’s hopeful anticipation that a mutiny with Russia might pave the way for friendlier relations, their worst nightmare, Wagner Group, has unexpectedly resurfaced on the battleground. This turn of events has shattered any illusions of a peaceful resolution, as Wagner Group is once again poised to launch attacks on Ukraine, reinstating a palpable sense of threat within Ukrainian officials.