Vladimir Putin hit with ‘significant losses’ as mercenary HQ destroyed

Ukraine: President Zelensky visits war wounded in Kiev hospital

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On Saturday, the hotel that the group were using as a base was destroyed in the town of Kadiivka, Luhansk, and many of the mercenary group are now dead, reports claim. Ukraine’s Luhansk region is currently under Russian occupation. 

Serhiy Haidai, the exiled Luhansk Governor, confirmed the strike on Ukrainian television and several photographs of the now-destroyed building has been posted to Telegram.

Mr Haidai said: “They had a little pop there, just where Wagner headquarters was located. A huge number of those who were there died.”

The exiled Governor said Ukraine’s strike on the hotel has caused Russia to suffer “significant losses”, but was not able to give casualty figures.

He said: “I am sure that at least 50 percent of those who managed to survive will die before they get medical care.

“This is because even in our Luhansk region, they have stolen equipment.”

The mercenary group Wagner was founded by Vladimir Putin’s close associate by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s Chief” and regularly acts in the Russian President’s interests.

The private military organisation was previously deployed in Ukraine’s former region Crimea, as well as Syria, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic.

The United Nations has accused the organisation of committing sexual assault and robberies against civilians in the Central African Republic, which caused the European Union to impose sanctions.

The US also accused the Wagners of planting landlines and explosive devices in Liya.

Rear Admiral Heidi Ber, the Director of Intelligence at the US Army’s Africa Command, said: “Wagner Group’s reckless use of landmines and booby traps are harming innocent civilians.”

Ukraine has been experiencing major disruption this weekend after Russia hit another five energy facilities in the city of Odesa, which left 1.5 million Ukrainians without power.

President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted in his nightly war update that “the situation in the Odesa region is very difficult.”

He said: “Unfortunately the hits were critical, so it takes more than just time to restore electricity. It doesn’t take hours, but a few days.”

Ukrainian officials have said it could take months to repair the full extent of the damage, and only critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, currently have electricity.

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Some Ukrainians have had to leave their homes due to lack of power this winter, with some people in Kyiv telling CNN that they have retreated to rural areas where there are at least wood-burning stoves to provide warmth.

Sergey Kovalenko, CEO of power supplier YASNO, has said it is likely that Ukrainians will live with power blackouts until March 2023.

It comes at a time the European Union has purposed more sanctions on Russia due to targeting Ukraine’s power in the winter.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President, said that Russia “continues to bring death and devastation to Ukraine and is deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, seeking to paralyse the country at the beginning of the winter.”

It will be the ninth sanctions package since the war began this year, as the eighth package was approved in October.

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