Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that 21,000 Wagner mercenaries have been killed fighting in Ukraine. According to the leader, the private military company had suffered “enormous losses,” particularly in eastern Ukraine where its “most powerful group” was fighting.
“Our troops killed 21,000 Wagnerites in eastern Ukraine alone,” Zelensky told CNN and added that 80,000 Wagner fighters had been wounded. Zelenskyy, who distinguished the Wagner fighters as “motivated staff of the Russian army” and mostly convicts who “had nothing to lose,” said, “These were enormous losses for the Wagner PMC.”
Zelenskyy made the comments at a joint press conference with Spanish President Pedro Sanchez. Last week, the Wagner group's head Yevgeny Prigozhin had led members of the group towards Moscow, taking control of military facilities in two Russian cities in a sign of rebellion. Prigozhin is currently in exile in Belarus.
Zelenskyy on Saturday said Prigozhin’s rebellion had “greatly affected Russian power on the battlefield”. “They are losing the war. They have no more victories on the battlefield in Ukraine, and so they are starting to look for someone to blame,” he added. "It is more dangerous for Putin than for me, honestly. Because it’s only in Russia that they want to kill me, whereas the entire world wants to kill him," the president added.