| 28 May 2024, Tuesday |

Wagner Group to send Kyiv bodies of soldiers killed in Soledar, report says

According to a website connected to the group’s founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, the private Russian military organization Wagner intends to convey the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers killed in combat in the occupied town of Soledar to territory still held by Ukraine.

On January 11, Wagner claimed to have taken Soledar, and earlier this week, Russian-installed officials in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region declared control over the salt mining town, the scene of fierce battle.

The RIA FAN website – part of Prigozhin’s media holdings – quoted a Wagner commander as saying the mercenary company would send the bodies from Soledar to Ukrainian-held territory in four or five convoys totalling about 20 trucks.

Saturday’s report did not say how many bodies would be returned to Ukrainian authorities, but said Ukraine’s forces had suffered heavy losses in Soledar.

It said Prigozhin had made clear that soldiers’ bodies should be returned to Ukraine in a “dignified” way, but gave no further details about the planned operation.

Russian soldiers suffered significant losses, according to Ukrainian sources, during the battle for Soledar.

Prigozhin, who had previously avoided the media and denied having any connections to Wagner, acknowledged in September that he was the founder of the mercenary army that has been crucial to the fight. Wagner, according to him, is an entirely autonomous army with its own artillery, tanks, rockets, and aircraft.

  • Reuters