< /p> Illustrative photo – Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, who founded the private Wagner (translated from Russian Vagnerov) army, in a 2017 archive image.
Kyiv/London – The head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner claims that his troops captured the Ukrainian village of Berchivka, located a few kilometers northwest of Bakhmut. This claim could not be independently verified. In its morning operational brief, the Ukrainian General Staff states that Russian invasion forces have undertaken several unsuccessful offensive actions in the direction of Bakhmut, and mentions the area around Berchivka in this context.
Photo gallery: Russian invasion of Ukraine
“Berchovka (Berchivka in Ukrainian) is fully under our control. The units of Wagner's private military company fully control Berchovka,” Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the mercenary Wagner (in the Russian transcription of Wagner) group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said on the Telegram platform today.
“In the direction of Bakhmut, the enemy carried out several unsuccessful offensive actions in the areas of the villages of Berchivka, Bakhmut, Zalizňanske, Ivanivske, Chasiv Yar, Dylijivka and Vasylivka,” the Ukrainian General Staff states in its morning summary of the battles of the past day.
Berchivka is located a few kilometers from Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, for which Ukrainian defenders and Russian invasion forces are engaged in heavy fighting. Wagner's group and the Russian army have been trying to conquer Bakhmut for six months, AFP noted. Russian forces have been trying to encircle the city for the past few weeks and have managed to cut off several important supply routes for Ukrainian troops, AFP noted. however, according to her, it acquired a great symbolic meaning.
“The Russian Federation has been continuing full armed aggression against Ukraine for a year. Currently, it is focusing its main efforts on conducting offensive operations in the directions of Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdijivka and Shakhtarsk,” noted the command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. According to him, over the past day, Ukrainian defenders have repelled about 100 Russian attacks in these places.
Russia's goal is to weaken the Ukrainian army and exhaust Ukraine, according to London
Currently, Russia's goal in Ukraine is not so much territorial gains, it is rather trying to weaken the Ukrainian army and exhaust Ukraine in the long term. In its regular report today, on the first anniversary of the invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine, British military intelligence stated this on Twitter.
British intelligence officers divide Russia's progress towards its neighbor into several periods. They state that between 2014 and 2021, Russia's strategic goal was unchanging – it was to control Ukraine. It tried to achieve this through subversive activities, supporting the undeclared war in Donbas and the annexation of Crimea.
Exactly one year ago, Moscow tried to take over all of Ukraine and overthrow its government during a direct invasion. However, it realized last April that it would not succeed and focused on strengthening and formalizing its dominance in the Donbass and occupied southern Ukraine. “It has been slow progress at an extremely high cost,” says British military intelligence.
In recent weeks, it says, Russia has again changed its approach and is now focusing on wearing down the Ukrainian military rather than seizing new territory. . “Russia is probably conducting a long-term operation that counts on Russia's superiority in population and resources and that will eventually exhaust Ukraine,” British military intelligence judges.