The dynamics of the Ukraine war are seeing a significant shift as Ukrainian forces launch a counter-offensive to reclaim lost territories. A key battleground has been Avdiivka, where intense fighting is reported.
According to German media Merkur, the Russian side appears to have deployed the notorious private military company, the Wagner Group, known to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Wagner mercenaries are reportedly involved in the ongoing battle at the Avdiivka front.
The Wagner Group, that used to be led by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, is infamous for its clandestine operations in various conflict zones supporting Russian interests.
The situation in Avdiivka is tense as Ukrainian forces are determined to regain control, while the Wagner mercenaries are putting up a fierce resistance. The battle has led to casualties on both sides, though exact numbers are yet to be ascertained.
The involvement of Wagner mercenaries in the Ukraine conflict is seen as an escalation, indicating Putin's resolve to assert control over the region.
This development comes amidst ongoing diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation, which now seem to be overshadowed by the intensified fighting on the ground.
It is purportedly also the first time that Russia has utilized the Wagner Group again, since the mysterious death of Yevgeny Prigozhin. Prior to this, the Wagner Group had temporarily turned against Russia.