Video Shows Destroyed Russian Mercenaries' Base, Ukraine Says

Ukraine's forces have destroyed a base of the notorious Russian mercenary Wagner Group in a town that had been under Moscow's occupation since 2014, according to Luhansk's governor.

Serhiy Haidai, who is also head of the regional military administration, said on Friday that the base in the stadium in Kadiivka was hit by shelling.

"The Wagner Group base caught fire," he said in a post on his Telegram social media account next to video of a building on fire with dark smoke billowing out into the sky.

"The Armed Forces of Ukraine launched a well-aimed attack on it. Only one occupier survived." The strike has not been verified and Newsweek has contacted the Russia Defense Ministry for comment.

Ukrainian news outlet Hromadske said that 22 people had died and four others were injured in the attack, citing local news sources. Still images shared on Twitter showed the ruins of the stadium in the town, which had been the scene of shelling on Thursday.

On March 28, the British Ministry of Defence said that the Wagner Group had been involved in helping Russia's war effort in Ukraine. The role of the private company in fighting for the Kremlin's military interests is officially denied by Moscow.

However, British defense officials said Wagner was being used in Ukraine to make up for high Russian troop losses and a stalled invasion.

It is the second report of heavy losses suffered by the Russian mercenaries. On May 31, Ukraine's army reportedly destroyed a large unit of the Wagner group in the Donbas region.

Ukraine's armed forces said intercepted communication suggested after their demise, ordinary Russian soldiers are afraid to fight in Ukraine. Social media channels and Russian newspapers reported this week that Wagner mercenary Vladimir Andonov, 44, dubbed "the executioner" by the Ukrainian-run "Peacemaker" database, had been killed by a sniper in Kharkiv.

Meanwhile, Haidaialso said on Friday that Russian forces had shelled the entire territory of Luhansk region that Ukraine still controls. He said that "fierce" urban warfare was ongoing in the city of Severodonetsk, whose capture could determine the fate of the Donbas region.

"We are exhausting the enemy," he wrote on Telegram, according to a translation, "The Lysychansk-Bakhmut route is ours," referring to a highway that Russian troops are trying to seize control of.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv's forces were "holding on" in Severodonetsk. Meanwhile, British defense officials said on Friday that Russia was "again in control of most of the city, but its forces have made little progress in attempts to encircle the wider area from the north and south."

Meanwhile, Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak told the BBC that between 100 and 200 Ukrainian troops are being killed on the front line every day and that his country needed hundreds of Western artillery systems to fight Russia.

Ukrainian troop
A Ukrainian soldier on an armored vehicle moving towards Lysychansk, Ukraine on June 9, 2022. The Luhansk governor said on June 10, 2022 that Ukrainian forces had hit a base used by Russian mercenaries. ARIS MESSINIS/Getty Images