The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has said in a rare interview that it could take two years for Moscow to control the whole of two eastern Ukrainian regions whose capture it has stated as a key goal of the war.
Yevgeny Prigozhin said his understanding of Russia’s plan was that it needed to fully control the Donetsk and Luhansk regions that Moscow last year claimed as “republics” of Russia, in a move condemned by most countries of the United Nations as illegal.
“As far as I understand, we need to close off the Donetsk and Luhansk republics and in principle that will suit everyone for now,” he told Russian military blogger Semyon Pegov in a video published on Friday.
He said that could take 1-1/2 to two years.
“If we have to get to the Dnipro, then it will take about three years,” Prigozhin added, referring to a larger area that would extend to the vast Dnipro River that runs roughly north to south, bisecting Ukraine.