The head of the Wagner Group wants Russia to get out of Ukraine, and to recognize that the war has solidified Ukraine’s identity.
The time has come for a “firm end” to the war in Ukraine, Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin posted on Telegram on Friday.
“Russia has achieved the results it wanted,” and has “eradicated most of active male population of Ukraine and intimidate the rest,” Prigozhin said, while not mentioning Ukraine’s battlefield victories.
READ MORE about the Wagner Group in Ukraine.
Prigozhin said Russia forces should now “hold on for dear life to the territories we already have.”
Prigozhin believes, however, that the war caused a particular problem for Moscow: “If before Ukraine was part of the former Russia, now it is an absolutely nation-oriented state.”
The Wagner Group has provided fighters for Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Many reportedly were recruited from Russian prisons.
Data from the Russian Federal Penal Service suggested a drop-off in the rate of prisoner recruitment by the paramilitary group since December 2022, the British Defense Ministry said. News of the “harsh realities” of service in Wagner in Ukraine has probably “filtered through to inmates and reduced the number of volunteers,” the ministry said.
Russia now faces a “difficult choice” of whether to continue “to deplete its forces, scale back objectives, or conduct a further form of mobilization,” the ministry said earlier this year.
Meanwhile, At least eight people were killed and 21 were wounded Friday in a Russian airstrike in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk, northwest of Bakhmut.
Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told national television that seven missiles had been fired on the city. According to Ukrainian national police, S-300 missiles struck 10 apartment buildings and other sites. The top two floors of a five-story building collapsed after the strike. Rescue teams were looking for survivors.
A child was pulled alive from the rubble but died on the way to a hospital, said Daria Zarivna, a senior official in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office. People were believed to be trapped under the debris, Kyrylenko said.
With reporting from VOA.