Saturday, January 28, 2023

HIMARS MLRS Wipes Out Russia’s ‘Luxurious’ Military Facility In Luhansk; Western Media Says Wagner Group Badly Hit

Ukrainian forces are said to have launched a missile strike on a hotel in the Luhansk region where members of Russia’s private Wagner military group were stationed. 

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According to the Russian accounts, the attack was carried out by the US-Supplied HIMARS at the hotel, which the Wagner PMC fighters used as a makeshift base. 

Serhiy Haidai, the exiled governor of Luhansk, claimed that Ukraine had attacked a hotel in Kadiivka, a city west of Luhansk, in an interview with Ukrainian television on Sunday. A “huge number” of Wagner fighters perished in the onslaught, Haidai said.

Although Haidai did not provide casualty numbers, he stated that those who survived the attack faced insufficient medical care. Sources in Kyiv claim that the Kadiivka strike caused “significant losses.”

The city, which Russian forces have occupied since March, is believed to have been hit by at least four missiles. The pictures and videos that quickly went viral on various social media platforms appeared to depict the aftermath of the missile attack. 

Photos shared on social media showed a building substantially reduced to rubble. One video appears to show rescuers in the burning wreckage of the hotel, which Russian fighters are reported to have taken over as a base of operations.

The hotel in question is Pryval Myslyvtsya, a high-end property in Melitopol. It had modern amenities and even a mini-zoo with imported birds. EurAsian Times compiled photographs of the hotel and its surroundings depicting the before and aftermath of the missile strike.

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Image analysis – Pryval Myslyvtsya Restaurant, Melitopol: EurAsian Times

The pictures reveal the severity of the missile attack on the hotel. Nonetheless, it is assumed that many Wagner PMC officers were also staying there, considering that the hotel appears to be extremely pricey. 

Russian officials have confirmed the attack and asserted that US-supplied HIMARS missiles were used to carry it out. Ukrainian sources reported that 200–300 Russian fighters died in the attack.

HIMARS Ukraine US
File Image: HIMARS

On the other hand, Kremlin sources have provided far lower casualty numbers. Ukrainian operatives working among the locals passed the information about the hotel to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, following which the missiles were fired at the hotel.

In the past, Ukrainian forces have reportedly attacked other Luhansk region locations, including the Wagner headquarters in the town of Popasna in August. 

The Wagner Group: Russia’s Private Army

The Wagner Group is Russia’s mercenary fighting force that operates in the Central African Republic, Mali, Ukraine, Syria, and Libya to advance Moscow’s military objectives worldwide.

According to a BBC investigation into the Wagner Group, a 51-year-old former Russian army colonel named Dmitri Utkin was allegedly involved in forming this mercenary group. He is said to have established Wagner and given it its name, his former call sign.

He served in the Chechen wars, acted as a special forces officer in the past, and is currently a lieutenant colonel with the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency.

The Wagner Group is allegedly funded and supervised covertly by the GRU. The Wagner Group began to work in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea.

The group has been charged with multiple human rights violations, including torture and murder. In November, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, established Wagner’s first formal headquarters in St Petersburg, Russia.

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The aftermath of a missile attack on a hotel where Wagner fighters were based.

The US currently sanctions several firms belonging to Prigozhin for his “malign political and economic influence around the world.” He has consistently denied any involvement with the Wagner Group.

Most of Wagner’s members are former service members, and the EU has accused them of violating human rights; as a result, the EU and US have sanctioned Prigozhin for his involvement with the organization. The EU accused the Wagner Group of violations in 2021, including torture and extrajudicial killings.

Wagner Group mercenaries are suspected of participating in several so-called “false flag” incidents in eastern Ukraine in the weeks preceding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which served as justification for the attack.

German intelligence previously claimed that Wagner mercenaries may also have been responsible for the killing of Bucha villagers during the Russian Army’s departure from the area around Kyiv. 

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