Ukraine Attacked 'Wagner HQ' Using US-Supplied Rockets: Report

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Dec 13, 2022 - 12:20 AM

Ukraine says it delivered a huge blow to Russian forces after targeting a hotel in Luhansk province said to have members of Russia's mercenary Wagner Group based there.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai on Sunday touted that Ukrainian forces conducted a strike on a hotel in the city of Kadiivka "just where Wagner headquarters was located." However, Russia is denying that a 'Wagner HQ' was struck, and details or confirmable facts remain murky into Monday. Importantly, the Russian side says the attack was carried out with US-supplied missiles.

A US Army M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). Image source: US Air Force

Russia's state TASS reported that HIMARS rockets were used, and that "The hit was on a private hotel… in an area in a central market. It did not work."

The Ukrainian side has countered that "many" Wagner mercenaries were killed in the 'successful' strike, with some officials posting photos of a destroyed hotel building to Telegram.

On Monday afternoon, The New York Times summarized what it knows of the incident as follows

A Ukrainian rocket attack on a hotel in the east of the country killed members of the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary force whose leader has closed ties to President Vladimir V. Putin, regional Ukrainian military authorities have said.

...The Russian state news agency Tass reported in a Telegram post that a HIMARS rocket had destroyed a hotel close to the central market but did not mention the Wagner Group. Using the old Soviet name for the city, Stakhanov, in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, the report cited the office of the mayor and said that rescuers were clearing the rubble. It did not give details of casualties or say who was staying in the hotel.

But the Times report goes on to acknowledge that little can be verified of the strike, stressing that "There was no independent confirmation that Wagner forces were in the hotel, but such a strike would fit a pattern of attacks by Ukrainian forces on critical points of military infrastructure or concentrations of troops in territory occupied by Russian forces."

The Wagner Group itself stayed quiet in the initial aftermath of the Sunday attack, with no official statements or social media posts verifying the Ukrainian version of events, or that its members suffered any casualties.

If accurate, however, it would mark a huge escalation given the high visibility of Wagner Group as a leading private contractor firmed with links to President Vladimir Putin, and also given the allegations a devastating strike was carried out using the US HIMARS system - a weapon that allows Ukrainian forces to strike deep behind Russian lines. It also goes without saying that whole incident risks a greater Russian response.