Wagner boss Prigozhin has lost over 1,000 fighters in Bakhmut in just a few weeks, the US government reports. Putin wants to “crack” the US-supplied Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine. Moscow currently sees its positions as secure. what happened in the night
Wagner boss Prigoshin “puts people through the meat grinder” and is now putting everything on Bachmut
According to the US government, tens of thousands of mercenaries from the Russian “Wagner” combat group are stationed in Ukraine. It is estimated that 50,000 mercenaries are currently deployed in Ukraine, said White House communications director John Kirby. In the past few weeks alone, around 1,000 “Wagner” fighters have been killed in battles around Bachmut.
Mercenary boss Prigozhin literally puts people in Ukraine through a meat grinder, Kirby said. He has no regard for human life, especially Ukrainian ones. The US think tank Institute for the Study of War also analyzed that Prigozhin “is also likely to allocate a significant amount of personnel and resources to the Wagner Group’s operations at Bakhmut in the hope of bringing about a success for the Russian military, which has so far been denied to him.”
Kirby also stated that “North Korea completed an initial arms shipment to Wagner” – the mercenary group paid for it. According to the ISW, Prigozhin wanted to increase his influence on the battlefield. The shipments from North Korea may indicate that Prigozhin is trying to source foreign arms through his private military company, which would be more difficult for the Russian Defense Ministry to obtain, the ISW said. “We assume that the amount of material supplied to ‘Wagner’ will not change the dynamics on the battlefield and in Ukraine, but we are certainly concerned that North Korea plans to supply more military equipment .” Prigozhin denied the report.
Russian Chief of Staff: Situation at the front has stabilized
Despite several defeats in the war of aggression against Ukraine, the military leadership in Moscow considers its own positions in the occupied territories to be solid after the most recent mobilization. “Taking into account the measures taken to increase the combat effectiveness of the troops, the situation along the front line has stabilized,” said Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov. Moscow’s main efforts are therefore aimed at the “liberation” of the Donetsk region in the east of the country.
By December 17, the Kremlin had avoided showing General Gerasimov in public. On Thursday, Gerasimov then suddenly spoke of the pre-war narrative that Russia only attacked Ukraine in response to its “neo-Nazi ideology”. The Kremlin “probably seeks to reintroduce him as another figure responsible for the war early in the second year of the invasion,” according to the US think tank Institute for the Study of War.
Putin wants to “crack” Patriots and suddenly speaks of diplomacy
Kremlin chief Putin has criticized the planned US deliveries of Patriot anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine. “This only means a prolongation of the conflict,” said the 70-year-old on Thursday in Yekaterinburg. At the same time, he described the weapons as old and was optimistic that Russia could overcome the anti-aircraft defenses. Patriot anti-aircraft defenses don’t work as well as Russia’s S-300, Putin said. Russia will “crack” the Patriots.
Almost ten months after the start of the war of aggression against Ukraine, Putin has indicated that he is willing to negotiate. “All armed conflicts end in negotiations, and Russia has never backed down, unlike Ukraine,” he told a news conference in Yekaterinburg on Thursday. In addition, the Ukrainian leadership has excluded itself from talks. “The sooner Kyiv realizes that talks are necessary, the better.”
Selenskyj is happy about “good results” in Washington
Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his satisfaction with the results of his visit to Washington and his talks with US President Joe Biden. “I’m returning from Washington with good results,” Ukraine’s president said in his daily video address on Thursday. The US is planning to send a Patriot air defense system to Ukraine as part of a new $1.85 billion military aid package, and new ammunition has also been promised.
Melnyk: Berlin should form a “European tank alliance” for Ukraine
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk has again demanded that the federal government deliver battle tanks and armored personnel carriers for the defense against Russia. He wished that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) “finally reconsidered the restraint, for example, with the Leopard battle tank and the Marder infantry fighting vehicle,” said the former ambassador of Ukraine in Germany to the editorial network Germany (RND). “If the federal government does not want to go it alone with the delivery, then Germany could pursue a leading role on the continent, forge a European tank alliance.”
US Senate approves budget with billions in aid for Ukraine
Shortly before the deadline on Friday, the US Senate approved a draft budget that, among other things, provides for billions in aid for Ukraine. The planned budget is said to have a total volume of 1.7 trillion US dollars (1.6 trillion euros). Aid of 44.9 billion US dollars is planned for Ukraine. Approval by the House of Representatives, the second chamber of Parliament, was considered likely.
That will be important on Friday
Focus on Friday will remain on the situation in Donetsk Oblast in eastern Ukraine, where several suburbs of the industrial city of Donetsk and the small industrial town of Bakhmut are fiercely contested. Russian troops continued their attacks on Bakhmut on Thursday. The attackers had advanced to the edge of the frontline town several times, the general staff in Kyiv said. However, the attackers were repeatedly repelled.
Also Read: The December 22nd Ukraine Update