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Ukraine missile strike hits Wagner mercenary group HQ ‘thanks to propaganda video’

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 15/08/2022 Robert Dex
FILE PHOTO: A view shows a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is being fired in an undisclosed location © VIA PAVLO NAROZHNYY via REUTERS FILE PHOTO: A view shows a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is being fired in an undisclosed location

Ukrainian missiles are reported to have hit a base belonging to pro-Russian Wagner Group mercenaries in the east of the country.

One Ukrainian politician said long-range HIMARS rockets were used in the attack on the city of Popasna.

Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the country’s Minister of Internal Affairs said the location of the base had been tracked down after it featured in a Russian propoganda film.

The attack was also reported by Serhiy Hayday, Ukrainian governor of Luhansk region, and several pro-Kremlin war reporters - though the number of casualties is not clear.

In April, British MPs were told around 8,000 mercenaries from the group had been deployed by Russia to the conflict in Ukraine.


Video: Civilians killed in Russian shelling in Kramatorsk and Zaporizhzhia (Evening Standard)

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Giving evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Christo Grozev, executive director of the Bellingcat investigative website, said 3,000 members of the private military company were thought to have been killed on the battlefield.

The group was initially deployed to Crimea and Ukraine’s Donbas region in 2014, when Kremlin-backed forces ousted Ukrainian troops from areas they later declared to be part of Russia.

Wagner units have also been sent to Syria, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic.

Wagner is described as a PMC - private military company, but Western experts say they are state-sponsored mercenaries who act in the Kremlin’s interests. They have been accused of repeated war crimes and human rights abuses.

Popasna lies just south of Severodonetsk in Luhansk region, which Russian forces now entirely control, following months of bitter fighting and huge destruction.

Ukrainian forces now have several of the US Himars (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System), which fire rockets capable of hitting Russian targets far behind the front lines.

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