Home World Inside Wagner's Bakhmut bloodbath that slaughtered 20,000 and drove Putin ally mad

Inside Wagner's Bakhmut bloodbath that slaughtered 20,000 and drove Putin ally mad

The horrific and stunning losses sustained by the Wagner militia in its 10 month battle for Bakhmut have been revealed in a new groundbreaking study.

The ferocious battle for control over the Donbas city was launched in June 2022 and dragged on over the winter and into May 2023, when Ukrainian troops finally retreated.

The city was pounded day and night by Russian artillery and reduced to a rubble, as troops fought tooth and nail over every inch of ground.

Putin seemed obsessed with seizing the city, that became a potent symbol of the brutal war.

At the time many questioned Ukraine’s determination to hold on to Bakhmut which was not considered a strategically important city.

Western military analysts feared Kyiv’s army was wasting its ammunition and manpower reserves in the run up to its summer counteroffensive, that ultimately ended in failure.

An investigation carried out by the BBC Russian service and Mediazona has now revealed the massive casualties sustained by Wagner during the bloody battle.

Researchers analysed Wagner records of posthumous payments to fighters’ relatives to determine the number of militia men killed.

They concluded that the private Kremlin army led by Yegenny Prigozhin lost over 20,000 personnel in a four month period between January 2022 and August 2023.

This figure included at least 19,547 deaths during fighting from June 2022 to June 2023.

The heaviest losses were sustained in January 2023, when the militia at times lost 200-213 personnel per day.

Ninety-percent of the killed soldiers were recruits from Russian penal colonies.

The researchers estimate that Wagner recruited at least 48,000 convicts, two thirds of whom were from maximum security penal colonies.

The slaughter of his troops drove Prigozhin to post a video to social media, in which he accused Russia’s then Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and army boss Valery Gerasimov of betrayal.

Shot against a background of dead bodies, he fumed: “Shoigu! Gerasimov! Where are the f*****g shells. They came here as volunteers and died so you could gorge yourselves in your offices.”

Later in the summer Prigozhin, a former close Putin ally, launched an attempted coup, which he abruptly aborted.

He died in a plane crash in August 2023, which many believed was orchestrated by the Kremlin and his enemies, as punishment for the failed coup.


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