Russian soldiers are “slowly retreating” every day and the “real counter-offensive” is yet to come, according to Ukrainian fighters.
After months of fighting in Bakhmut, Yaroslav – an artilleryman in Ukraine’s 80th Separate Airborne Brigade – says it was “almost fun” to watch the Wagner Mercenary mutiny.
The builder, who is now serving alongside his son Bogdan, said he has lobbed artillery at the group from 10 miles away and also stood over their corpses after machine-gun battles in the trenches.
“Some are professional soldiers, but others are just used as cannon fodder,” he told the Telegraph on Monday.
“One night, a load of them came at us and we shot them with big-calibre machine guns – when we saw the bodies the next day, we noticed how poorly equipped they were, with a small amount of ammunition each.”
Yaroslav said a moment of pity came over him as he mulled the fall-out of Saturday’s Wagner rebellion.
The Ukrainian explained that before the attempted coup, the Wagner soldiers at least had a clear chain of command.
“These guys didn’t really know what they were fighting for before, and who knows what they will do now amid all this chaos,” he added.
“As Ukrainians, we will plan to fight as hard as ever, but this coup will affect the morale of the Russian lines, as a lot of blood has been spilt.”
Vladimir Putin has vowed that the Wagner group will be “brought to justice” following the coup attempt.
Speaking from the Kremlin, Putin told Russians those who staged the “mutiny” wanted Russia to lose “and our society to drown in blood, but they miscalculated”.
Kyiv claimed on Sunday night to have liberated the village of Rivnopil, outside of Donetsk – one of nine it has now retaken since its counter-offensive began three weeks ago.