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Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Wagner Group now likely being led by the son of killed mercenary leader

Large elements of the Wagner Group of mercenaries have likely been assimilated into the command structure of Russia’s National Guard (Rosgvardiya) and resumed active recruitment, the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update Sunday.

The Wagner Group has been in a state of flux since the death of its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin in a plane crash in August. The incident is under investigation. The Kremlin denied any involvement in Prigozhin’s death, which came after he led a short-lived and unsuccessful rebellion against Russia’s defense ministry.

A view shows the grave of Wagner private mercenary group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who was killed in a private jet crash in the Tver region last week, at the Porokhovskoye cemetery in Saint Petersburg on August 30, 2023.

Olga Maltseva | Afp | Getty Images

Now, the latest iteration of the Wagner Group, under Rosgvardiya’s command, is likely being led by Pavel Prigozhin, the son of the late Yevgeny Prigozhin, the U.K. said.

“Other groups of Wagner fighters have highly likely joined another Russian PMC [private military company], Redut, which according to a Radio Free Europe investigation now has 7,000 personnel in total,” the U.K. said in an intelligence update on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“The Russian state is now exercising more direct control of Wagner Group activities and former personnel following the mutiny in July 2023 and subsequent death of Wagner’s leadership in August 2023,” it added.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine appears to be intensifying attacks on Russian military

Ukraine appears to be intensifying attacks against Russian military and logistical assets in occupied parts of the country, analysts at the Institute for the Study of War think tank said Sunday. 

Noting that the Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (or GUR) reported Sunday that Ukrainian partisans had attacked a Russian military headquarters in occupied Melitopol in the Zaporizhia region, the ISW said it followed a number of audacious attacks by Ukraine in recent days.

BAKHMUT DISTRICT, UKRAINE – NOVEMBER 12: Portrait of a Ukrainian soldier against the background of an explosion over the horizon as the special unit “Achilles” is preparing to carry out a combat mission at night on the heavy drone “Vampire”, which the Russians call “Baba Yaga” on November 12, 2023 in the Bakhmut District, Ukraine. SkyFall, a Ukrainian company, has launched mass production of unmanned aerial vehicles. The new “Vampire” model can carry up to 15 kg of ammunition. The Armed Forces of Ukraine use Vampire hexacopters to drop different types of munitions on the enemy, such as cumulative and thermobaric, and are most often used against tanks and other armored vehicles. Unmanned aerial vehicles are equipped with a thermal imager, which allows you to attack the enemy in the dark. Ukrainian forces continue to fight to retake Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian forces in May, following a yearlong war battle. Over the summer, Ukraine regained territory north and south of Bakhmut but Russia has held the city itself. (Photo by Kostya Liberov/Libkos via Getty Images)

Libkos | Getty Images News | Getty Images

“The GUR’s November 12 announcement follows a Ukrainian partisan attack against a former Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) People’s Militia head on November 8; strikes against a Russian military base in occupied Skadovsk, Kherson Oblast and Black Sea Fleet assets in Crimea on November 9; and three rear-area strikes and partisan attacks in Russia on November 11,” the ISW said.

“Ukraine appears to be intensifying attacks against Russian military, logistics, and other high-profile assets in rear areas in occupied Ukraine and Russia,” it added.

There is pressure on Ukraine to make progress in its counteroffensive given the limited amount of time before inclement weather and muddy fighting conditions take hold. Russia also appears to have intensified attacks in recent weeks and targeted the capital Kyiv on Saturday for the first time in 52 days.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine braces itself for Russian attacks on energy infrastructure

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the country must brace itself for more attacks on national infrastructure as winter approaches.

“We are almost halfway through November and we must be prepared for the possibility that the enemy may increase the number of drone or missile strikes against our infrastructure,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Sunday.

Firefighters work to put out a fire at energy infrastructure facilities damaged by Russian missile strike, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv region, Ukraine.

State Emergency Service Of Ukraine | Via Reuters

Russia pummelled Ukrainian energy infrastructure last winter, putting pressure on much of the civilian population by depriving them of heating and power. The Kyiv School of Economics estimated last January that damage to the country’s energy sector had already totaled $6.8 billion.

“Russia is preparing for winter. And in Ukraine, all our attention should be focused on defense, on response to terrorists, on everything Ukraine can do to make it easier for our people to get through this winter and to increase the capabilities of our troops,” Zelenskyy said.

— Holly Ellyatt

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