The owner of the Russian Wagner Group private military contractor, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has predicted that Russian War in Ukraine Could Last for up to three years. In a recent video interview, Prigozhin said that it could take 18 months to two years for Russia to fully secure control of Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland of Donbas. He added that the war could go on for three years if Moscow decides to capture broader territories east of the Dnieper River.
Prigozhin’s statement marked a recognition of the difficulties that the Kremlin has faced in the Ukrainian campaign, which was initially expected to wrap up within weeks of Russian troops invading Ukraine on February 24th. Despite a series of setbacks in the fall, the Russian forces have continued to push their attacks in the Donbas region where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014.
The Wagner Group mercenaries have been actively involved in the fighting and are currently battling for control of the Ukrainian stronghold of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. Prigozhin acknowledged that the Ukrainian troops were putting up fierce resistance.
As Russian troops have advanced in the Donbas, Moscow has also sought to demoralize Ukrainians by leaving them without heat and water in the bitter winter. On Friday, Russia launched the 14th round of massive strikes on Ukrainian energy facilities and other vital infrastructure, resulting in power outages in some areas.
Despite the attacks, Ukraine’s energy company, Ukrenergo, has said that the situation is “difficult but controllable” and that backups are in place to keep up power supplies, although power rationing will continue in some areas.
Ukraine’s military chief, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, reported that Russian forces launched 71 cruise missiles, 35 S-300 missiles, and seven Shahed drones between Thursday and midday Friday. Ukrainian air defenses were able to down 61 cruise missiles and five drones. The Ukrainian authorities reported further drone attacks later on Friday, with the Ukrainian air force claiming to have downed 20 Shahed drones in the evening.
A video was posted by Russian military bloggers and Ukrainian news outlets showing an attack by a sea drone on a strategic railway bridge in the Odesa region. The authenticity of the video could not be verified, and the Ukrainian military did not comment on the attack. The bridge, which was previously targeted by Russian missile strikes, serves the railway link to Romania, a key conduit for Western arms supplies.
The war in Ukraine could last for years, according to the owner of the Russian Wagner Group private military contractor. Despite setbacks and fierce resistance from Ukrainian troops, Russian forces continue to push their attacks and seek to demoralize the Ukrainian people.