Russia’s getting pushed to the corner, and apparently, Putin’s military is reaching out to mercenaries to do the job.
According to a UK intelligence report released earlier this week, the Russian military is closely coordinating with Wagner Group, a private military contractor. SOFREP previously reported about the Wagner Group and their intensified operations in Africa.
Owned by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner Group has close ties to Vladimir Putin. Prigozhin is also known as “Putin’s chef.” We also reported here in SOFREP that his group has never had a contract that Kremlin did not approve.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 18 July 2022
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/FLMyNFy4J2
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) July 18, 2022
“I make no distinction between Russian soldiers and the Wagner Group – the way they cooperate,” South African Terrorism Expert Jasmine Opperman noted.
Even with the apparent ties, Kremlin continues to deny these allegations. However, the UK’s Military of Defense said Wagner Group has now been pulled to “reinforce front-line forces and to mitigate many shortfalls and casualties.”
“Wagner has almost certainly played a central role in recent fighting, including the capture of Popasna and Lysyschansk. This fighting has inflicted heavy casualties on the group. Wagner are lowering recruitment standards, hiring convicts and formerly blacklisted individuals. Very limited training is made available to new recruits.”
Manpower has been one of the more evident challenges for Russia since the war began. In another SOFREP feature, we reported how the Russian military has been using job sites to recruit personnel. However, with tens and thousands of casualties, locals are not really inclined to join the troops. Russians even boycotted recruitment centers by burning them down.
“We know that the Russian command is preparing for new big losses. In those units, the personnel of which was almost completely destroyed or significantly weakened in March-April, new people are being recruited. With little motivation. With little combat experience,” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Aside from the job ads, Russia is at the tipping point and has started forcing federal districts to produce a minimum of 200 volunteers weekly. They are said to infuse “traditional Russian narratives” to spark support but to no avail.
Additionally, the Russian military’s experiencing a high churn in their senior military commanders, with many getting replaced in a short period of time. This impacts the implementation of Russian strategy and morale.
Because of the slow recruitment of new soldiers, Russia’s trained army accounts for only a portion of its total military suit.
Russian’s Psuedo Army Filled With Convicts
With the surmounting monthly losses, economic instability, and prolonged war, it is not far-fetch for Kremlin to find sources elsewhere, even though this might include the infamous Wagner Group.
According to UK intelligence, the Wagner Group is now lowering the entry point of participants in the war, welcoming previous convicts and blacklisted individuals. However, it’s also reported that minimal training is given to the recruits. This will no doubt affect their fighting ability on the front lines.
Russia is also at the point of not being concerned about training and capability and is more inclined just to add numbers to the troops deployed.
This is where the Wagner Group has effectively chimed in. Wagner focuses not on military tactics but on its dangerous killing force. According to German intelligence, they were implicated in multiple massacres, including the Bucha Massacre. In all likelihood they will be used in the rear areas under occupation to police Ukrainian civilians trapped behind the lines.
Today we saw these dead soldiers, apparently Russian, four of them arranged in a Z like the military symbol found on Russian armored vehicles, visible to the Russian drones that continuously buzz overhead. https://t.co/R4kyBUgSsz pic.twitter.com/BnjvG6xd3Y
— Felipe Dana (@felipedana) May 2, 2022
In another story by SOFREP, we previously reported how one of Wagner Groups’ mercenaries was shot by a Ukrainian sniper.
Infamously known as “The Executioner,” Vladimir Andonov, 44, was one of the figureheads of the group. Apparently, he’s been reported to have killed civilians throughout his career. He was also reportedly responsible for killing civilians in Donbas back in 2015. That’s why he’s one of the most feared men in Siberia. However, it was during the war with Ukraine that he was finally killed.
In June, there were speculations saying Wagner Group has ceased working with Kremlin because they’re “not paid enough.” So with this new intelligence, it’s safe to assume that Kremlin struck a new deal with the group to speed up the expansion of their forces.