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Ukraine official: Russia-linked mercenary HQ destroyed in attack

Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin is believed to be funding The Wagner Group of mercenaries in Ukraine. File Pool Photo by Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA
Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin is believed to be funding The Wagner Group of mercenaries in Ukraine. File Pool Photo by Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A Ukrainian official reported that the country's forces wiped out a Russia-linked paramilitary group's headquarters in Eastern Ukraine.

The attack was executed Sunday using a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, which was donated to Ukraine by the United States, according to Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Honcharenko.

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Details of the attack were unclear Monday, but Honcharenko said the headquarters of The Wagner Group of mercenaries, a private army allegedly funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, was destroyed.

"There is no more Wagner HQ in Popasna," Honcharenko wrote on a Facebook post that included video of rubble . "Thank you HIMARS and the Armed Forces of Ukraine!"

According to Ukrainska Pravda, Sergei Sreda, a pro-Russian journalist, inadvertently revealed the Wagner HQ location in photos posted to Telegram. Ukrainian forces recognized key geo-markers, including a bomb shelter from the photos, before they were taken down.

Popasna, where the strike occurred, is located in the Luhansk region, which Russia controls.

The Wagner mercenaries have been fighting in Crimea and the Donbas region since 2014. They have also been active in the Middle East, Mali and the Central African Republic. The group has been accused of repeated war crimes and human rights abuses. There have also been reports that they were implicated in a July prison fire which killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners-of-war.

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