The money Western countries spent on the military needs of Kyiv speak of a desire to confront Russia, if not to the "last Ukrainian," then to a number of victims comparable to that in Iraq.
The assault on the urban quarters of Soledar, occupied by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, was fulfilled through the courageous and selfless actions of the volunteers from the Wagner Group strike teams.
The claim advances a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative regarding Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine, particularly the involvement of the Wagner group in the conflict.
The Wagner private military company (PMC) is a quasi-legal mercenary group which, at least formally, runs its combat operations independently of the Russian Armed Forces. However, the Wagner operations are closely integrated with the regular Russian army and its foreign policy. The equipment comes from the Russian state arsenals and the group is fully dependent on supplies via the Russian army logistics.
Wagner is as "private" as the Kremlin needs it to be in order to a escape command responsibility for the atrocities committed by the group or its murky engagement in conflicts across the world. The group can be understood as another auxiliary armed formation under the Kremlin umbrella.
The group's fighters are not "selfless volunteers" but paid employees reportedly earning between $3,000 and $10,000 monthly, depending on rank and area of deployment - substantially more than a Russian average income. A substantial part of the force is made up of convicts from Russian prisons and camps who is given the choice to fight in Ukraine or perish in prison. The casualty rate among Wagner soldiers is estimated above 70% by independent military observers. Poorly trained units are used as cannon fodder.
According to multiple investigative accounts, the company has engaged in countless human rights abuses and outright war crimes since its founding in 2014. See here for comprehensive debunking by POLYGRAPH.info.
Previous cases on Wagner in EUvsDisinfo can be seen here.