Zelensky's Claims Elimination of 21,000 Wagner Mercenaries by Ukriane
Kyiv: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a significant announcement on Saturday, stating that the conflict-ridden country has eliminated approximately 21,000 Wagner mercenaries and injured an additional 80,000 thus far. This declaration comes shortly after Russia faced a crisis resembling a coup, as Wagner Group's leader initiated a mutiny against the top brass, posing one of the greatest challenges to Vladimir Putin.
During a press conference with Spanish media, Zelensky conveyed that the "private military company has suffered massive losses, particularly in Eastern Ukraine," as reported by CNN. He characterized the Wagner mercenaries as "mostly criminals with nothing to lose" and emphasized that these fighters serve as "motivated personnel of the Russian army."
Zelensky highlighted that the rebellion led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Wagner, has significantly impacted Russian military capabilities on the battlefield, potentially favoring Ukraine's counteroffensive efforts. "We must seize this opportunity to drive the enemy out of our territory," Zelensky stated, emphasizing that he values human lives and will not hastily launch a counteroffensive.
In response to inquiries about his personal safety amid the war, Zelensky expressed that the situation is "more perilous for Putin." He added, "...In Russia, it is only me they want to kill, whereas the entire world wants to kill him."
Zelensky also expressed concerns about losing support from the United States, citing "troubling messages originating from certain Republicans." "While we enjoy bipartisan support, there are varying messages within their ranks regarding backing for Ukraine. Some Republicans have conveyed, at times, dangerous messages suggesting a reduction in support," Zelensky explained.
These statements by Zelensky come a week after Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner, orchestrated a rebellion against Russia, vowing to overthrow the Putin regime. Wagner troops advanced towards Moscow, seizing control of military installations in two Russian cities. Prigozhin stated that this rebellion was in response to a Russian military assault on a Wagner camp.