Two days after citing only regular Russian forces attacking the eastern Ukrainian town of Soledar, the Russian Defense Ministry on Friday credited private military company Wagner with spearheading a “direct attack”.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement on its official Telegram channel that the “offensive operation” was carried out by “different types of Russian troops according to a single plan” and that Wagner led the “direct attack”.
Some background back and forth: The Russian military, which is most responsible for the Soledar attack, has become the subject of controversy in recent days.
A defense ministry statement on Wednesday made no mention of Wagner, saying “airborne forces have blocked Soledad from the north and south of the city”.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Corporation, issued a statement on Monday saying that “Soledar is completely occupied by the Wagner PMC division.” On Thursday, the Wagner Telegram channel posted a video purportedly shown to members of the Russian Airborne Forces, Saying they did not take part in the battle for Soledar, “the attack on the city of Soledar was carried out only by PMC Wagner’s forces”
Sergey Markov, a pro-Kremlin Russian military blogger, said in a telegram Friday that “the public spats and semi-insults between the Ministry of Defense leadership and PMC Wagner” are damaging Russia and “must stop immediately”.
The defense ministry’s statement on Friday appeared to be aimed at de-escalating the situation.
“The offensive operation in this tactical direction, which ended in the defeat of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the occupation of the city of Soledar, was carried out by different types of Russian troops according to a single plan, which provided for the solution of a complex combat task, ’” according to the statement.
“As for the direct attack on the city block of Soledar occupied by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, this combat mission was successfully resolved by the brave and selfless actions of Wagner Commando volunteers,” it added.
on the ukrainian sideOn Friday, a senior Ukrainian official described the infighting between different factions of the Russian establishment as “a sign that the shocking end is beginning”. Officials also denied Russian claims that Moscow’s military had taken over Soledad.