Wagner fighters in Bakhmut
A still image taken from video apparently shows Wagner fighters on top of a building in Bakhmut CONCORD PRESS SERVICE/Reuters


  • The shootout happened in the Russian-occupied town of Stanytsia Luhanska
  • It was reported by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine
  • The Russians and Wagner Group are trying to find 'someone to blame for the defeats,' says the UAF

A shootout broke out between soldiers of the Russian military and the country's infamous Wagner mercenary group, leading to deaths, according to an intelligence report.

The shootout happened in the temporarily occupied region of Luhansk Oblast, particularly in the town of Stanytsia Luhanska, on Sunday. The fighting allegedly stemmed from Russia's inability to make significant advancements on the frontlines against Ukrainian forces. The shootout led to casualties on both sides, as reported by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (UAF).

"With no significant achievements on the battlefield, the Russian Armed Forces and Wagner Group PMC are increasingly attempting to find someone to blame for the defeats. They shift the responsibility for their own tactical miscalculations and losses suffered onto each other," the UAF General Staff wrote in its intelligence report.

"As a result, a fight between Russian Armed Forces and PMC Wagner mercenaries broke out in the settlement of Stanytsia Luhanska (Luhansk oblast) recently. It escalated into a shootout with participants on both sides killed as a result."

Situation update as of 6 p.m., April 23, 2023Glory to Ukraine! Day 424 of the russian full-scale military aggression against Ukraine continues.The russian federation does not abandon its plans...

The International Business Times could not independently verify the report. However, previous reports had pointed to infighting between Wagner fighters — led by Russian President Vladimir Putin's ally Yevgeny Prigozhin — and the Russian Defense Ministry.

The conflict began after Prigozhin accused the Russian Defense Ministry of refusing to send his group ammunition to use in the war. He also swiped at the Russian military for reportedly blocking his attempts to recruit more prisoners from Russian penal colonies to fill its ranks.

A separate report also suggested that Prigozhin could pull Wagner mercenaries out of the war in Ukraine and instead focus on countries in Africa amid the ongoing dispute with the Russian military.

The Wagner group has been operating in the shadows until Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The group has so far taken a leading role in Russia's fight to take control of the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast. However, the group has lost possibly half of its 50,000 fighters in the fight for the city, the Institute for the Study of War think tank said in March.

Russian servicemen
Russian servicemen stand guard at the destroyed part of the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works in Ukraine's port city of Mariupol OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images