Vladimir Putin’s private army has “likely suceeded in making tactical advances in the Donbas”, according to British defence chiefs.
In an intelligence update by the Ministry of Defence, it was revealed the Wagner private military company was likely to have been successful in the area surrounding the Vuhlehirska Power Plant.
It is the second biggest power plant in Ukraine, and is located about 30 miles north-east of Donetsk.
Earlier updates suggested the plant was part of an strategy to capture Ukraine’s critical national infrastructure, as well as advance towards the key cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.
British intelligence said that “some Ukrainian forces have likely withdrawn from the area” including the nearby village of Novoluhanske.
The Wagner military company is a Russian mercenary organisation believed to have links to the Kremlin, although Putin has always denied this.
It is privately owned but its management and operations are “deeply intertwined” with the Russian military and intelligence community, according to the US think thank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).