The Wagner Group, a Russian private military company, is seeking to recruit more than 1,500 convicted felons in Russia’s war on Ukraine. A top US defense official said Monday (19 September) that many of them refuse to join.
According to the US official the information showed that Wagner suffered heavy losses in Ukraine, especially among young inexperienced fighters. An anonymous source spoke only on condition of anonymity.
The European Union accused the Wagner Group of running clandestine operations to benefit the Kremlin. It has placed sanctions on it.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, stated that the group doesn’t represent Russia state. Private military contractors can work anywhere in the world as long as they do not violate Russian law.
An official from the United States pointed out videos that were posted on social media and showed Yevgeny Privozhin, a person the US Treasury Department claims is connected to Wagner Group in an apparent attempt recruit prisoners.
It seemed that Prigozhin tried to recruit Russian prisoners as well as Tajiks, and Belarusians.
The Ukrainian government and rights groups have charged the Wagner Group fighters with war crimes in Syria, Ukraine, and elsewhere since 2014.
British military intelligence claimed in July that Russia had used Wagner during the conflict with Ukraine.
According to the Pentagon estimates that Russia has suffered between 70,000 and 80,000 deaths or injuries in the years since its invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine expanded its control over recently captured territory Monday, as troops moved eastward into Russia’s abandoned areas. This opened the door to an attack against the Donbas’ occupation forces.