Posted For: Willie Wonka
Ukraine said Monday that it successfully struck the headquarters of the Wagner Group, the elite Russian paramilitary organization fighting on behalf of the Kremlin — just days after photos posted online mistakenly revealed the location.
Ukrainian governor of Luhansk Serhiy Hayday announced the country’s forces struck the group’s main operation in the eastern city of Popasna, according to the BBC.
Pro-Kremlin war reports also acknowledged the attack.
Ukraine was able to locate the headquarters after a Russian propagandist, Sergei Sreda, accidentally revealed its location in photos posted to Telegram on Aug. 8, Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainska Pravda reported.
The video showed a street sign with the address of a nearby bomb shelter, which allowed Kyiv to figure out the location.
The shadowy Wagner group was also used by Russia in the 2014 Crimea war, and has been seen in Syria, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic, according to the BBC.
Members of the group have repeatedly tried to assassinate Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky, according to multiple reports.
The group is believed to be behind some of the world’s worst atrocities, and was linked in 2021 to widespread rapes and robberies of civilians in the Central African Republic.
“The Russian government has found Wagner and other private military companies to be useful as a way to extend its influence overseas without the visibility and intrusiveness of state military forces,” according to a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.
The group was reportedly founded by Dmitry Utkin, a former special forces colonel and veteran of the two wars in Chechnya. Wagner is believed to be owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s cook” because his restaurants and catering companies have hosted lavish dinner parties for the president’s inner circle.
In 2016, the US Office of the Treasury imposed sanctions on Prigozhin for “having materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support … in support of senior officials of the Russian Federation.”