Ukrainian military unit named after Boris Johnson ‘is wiped out by Wagner troops’, the Russian mercenaries claim
- Wagner commander claimed Ukraine’s 24th Mechanised Brigade were defeated
- The Ukrainian military unit had a flag with message: ‘Boris Johnson’s Unit’
A Ukrainian military unit named after former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been wiped out by Russian Wagner troops in the besieged city of Bakhmut, the mercenary group claimed today.
A Wagner commander claimed that Ukraine’s 24th Mechanised Brigade were defeated during intense fighting in Bakhmut, as Russian forces attempt to encircle Ukrainian troops there.
The Wagner troops posted video showing a Ukrainian flag and trophies inside a cellar that had been used by Kyiv‘s forces.
On the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag, a message read: ‘Boris Johnson’s unit. Boris Johnson.’
Johnson remains a hero in Ukraine for galvanising the West to support Kyiv with military and financial assistance when Vladimir Putin launched his invasion. His role has been repeatedly praised by President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Wagner claimed they found that the Ukrainian military unit had a flag with message: ‘Boris Johnson’s Unit’
Pictured: Former UK PM Boris Johnson during his visit to Kyiv in August 2022
The Wagner troops posted video showing a Ukrainian flag and trophies inside a cellar that had been used by Kyiv’s forces
A Wagner commander claimed in a video: ‘The Johnson unit was holding a large stronghold in the woods [in Bakhmut].’
‘When they were hit, a flag like this was found,’ he said, showing Johnson’s name on the material.
There has been no confirmation from Ukrainian forces that the 24th Mechanised Brigade, which has been fighting in Bakhmut for months, has been defeated.
Units from the brigade earlier took part in peacekeeping missions in Kosovo and Iraq and in international NATO command and staff exercises codenamed Peace Shield.
Russian forces are continuing their relentless attacks on Bakhmut in their bid to capture the city and encircle Ukrainian troops there.
Bakhmut had a population of about 70,000 before the war but has been ruined during months of fighting as a focal point of Russian assaults and determined Ukrainian defence.
‘The enemy continues to advance in the direction of Bakhmut. He does not stop storming the city of Bakhmut,’ the Ukrainian military said in a morning briefing.
A Russian takeover of the small mining city would open the way to seizing the last remaining urban centres in the industrial Donetsk province.
Zelensky, in a video address late on Tuesday, said the battle for Bakhmut was ‘most difficult’ but its defence was essential.
Ukrainian service members ride a self-propelled howitzer, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, near the frontline city of Bakhmut, Ukraine, on Monday
Bakhmut had a population of about 70,000 before the war but has been ruined during months of fighting as a focal point of Russian assaults and determined Ukrainian defence
‘Russia in general takes no account of people and sends them in constant waves against our positions, the intensity of the fighting is only increasing,’ Zelensky said.
Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said Russian forces had driven a wedge between two villages north of Bakhmut, Berkhivka and Yahidne, in their bid to surround the city.
‘This breakthrough on Bakhmut’s northern flank poses a clear threat to us,’ he said in comments posted on social media.
Although most of the Russian attacks were focused on Bakhmut and other towns and villages in Donetsk, the Ukrainian military said its forces had repelled 85 Russian attacks on different sections of the front line over the past day.