The Ukrainian President looks back on eleven months of war. He doesn’t say a word about the hoped-for tank deliveries from German production – this is done by others around him. An independent Russian human rights organization speaks of high war casualties at the front. what happened in the night
Of the estimated 50,000 Russian prisoners recruited by the Wagner group, only 10,000 are said to have remained at the front. This is reported by the head of the independent Russian human rights organization “Rus Sidyashchaia” (Russia behind bars), Olga Romanova. The number of victims, capitulations and desertions on the Russian side are therefore very high, explain the military experts of the “Institute for the Study of War”. A “mass of untrained prisoners” die or surrender in the war, it is said.
These numbers cannot be independently verified, but they are very plausible, “if you consider Wagner’s model, in which prisoners are used as cannon fodder in very grueling offensive operations,” according to the “ISW”.
The experts also report cases where “relatives of Wagner group fighters received empty coffins after being told that their relatives had died in Ukraine.” This would also speak for the estimates of the human rights organization and showed “that Wagner does not have the basic administrative and bureaucratic infrastructure to track and present his own losses”.
Eleven months after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has emphasized cooperation with the allies. The eleven months of “Russia’s predatory all-out war” have brought Ukraine, the United States and all other allies together as closely as possible, Zelenskyy said in his daily video address on Monday evening.
“We fight every day to protect our people, our borders and our values, and we managed to stop the spread of Russian aggression,” said Zelenskyy. He can now say with confidence that “this evil on Ukrainian soil” can be overcome. “Even though Russia has found a terrorist accomplice in the Iranian regime, which supplies arms to the Kremlin.”
Zelenskyi also specified the term he used of a “predatory war”. He did not choose these words by chance. “Looting prevails in the entire territory of Ukraine, which was temporarily occupied by Russian troops,” said Zelenskyi. “Everything they don’t destroy, they steal and take to Russia. Everything.” In addition, around two million Ukrainians were deported to Russia. After all, Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories was “the completion of its predatory policy.”
In the international tug-of-war over the delivery of German-made Leopard battle tanks, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expected a solution to be found soon. “There are only a few half steps left,” he said on Ukrainian television on Monday evening. The British have already delivered their main battle tanks, France has offered light wheeled tanks and is considering the delivery of Leclerc main battle tanks. “I have no doubts that the leopard will also come to us, we are already in the final sprint.”
According to Ukraine, it needs “several hundred” battle tanks for the intended reconquest of the areas occupied by Russia. “Every tank that is capable of fighting must be on our front today,” wrote Presidential Office Chief Andriy Yermak on Monday on the Telegram news channel. Most recently, Kyiv had received modernized Soviet-style tanks from the Czech Republic.
Great Britain, Poland and Finland offered Kyiv Western tanks, including German-made Leopards. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been delaying a decision on the delivery of the Leopard main battle tanks for weeks.
In the debate about supplying Western-style main battle tanks to Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized NATO unity and once again called for more arms supplies. Since the beginning of the war almost a year ago, there has been “an unprecedented level of support” in the alliance, including Germany, Stoltenberg said on Monday on the TV station Welt.
There is now a consultation process on what kind of equipment should be supplied to Ukraine. “My message is that the Allies must deliver more, must deliver heavier equipment, equipment, combat systems to Ukraine. And that is absolutely necessary.”
Russian occupying forces and Ukrainian defenders again fought heavy battles around Bakhmut and Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine on Monday. The Russian attacks were repelled with heavy losses, the Ukrainian general staff said in Kyiv in the evening. In order to conquer the entire Donetsk region, the Russian army attacked “regardless of their own losses”. The account could not initially be independently verified.
The Russian military meanwhile spoke of an intensification of the fighting in the central Zaporizhia region. After advances by the Russian units in the past few days, a regrouping and repositioning of units on the Ukrainian side has now been observed, the state agency TASS reported.
The head of the notorious Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, thanked his fighters for their efforts in the battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Soledar. In a video excerpt distributed on Monday, he recalled the past few months in the war. “We now have half a year of war behind us, like neither your grandfathers nor great-grandfathers experienced,” said Prigozhin.
Compared to the battles for Soledar, the Red Army’s battle for Stalingrad in 1942 against the German Wehrmacht was “more of a vacation”. In response to complaints from Volgograd, as Stalingrad is called today, Prigozhin later declared that he respected the history of his ancestors.
During weeks of bitter fighting for the small town of Soledar in eastern Ukraine, mercenaries from Wagner’s troops spearheaded the Russian attacks. The mercenaries suffered heavy losses while capturing the place. Prigozhin, a confidante of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had recruited thousands of prisoners for deployment in Ukraine in Russia.
The international debate about the possible delivery of heavy battle tanks to Kyiv is entering a new day.