Execution for disobedience: Russians deploy "squadrons of liquidators" on the front lines
Created: 01/11/2023 14:06
By: Christian Stör
Numerous Wagner fighters are wiped out in the battle for Bachmut.
© DIMITAR DILKOFF/afp
The Wagner Group fights at the front in the Ukraine war.
Arrested ex-mercenaries speak of public executions.
Bachmut - The Wagner mercenaries wage a relentless fight in the Ukraine war.
The leaders show no mercy, neither towards the Ukrainian fighters nor towards their own.
Captured ex-mercenaries have now made gruesome details about how their own men were treated.
Accordingly, executions of deserters and disobedient soldiers are the order of the day in the Wagner group.
"Those who disobey will be eliminated - and it will be done publicly," according to a report
published Tuesday (January 10) by
and the independent newspaper
Mozhem Obyasnit .
The informant is the ex-prisoner Yevgeny Novikov recruited by Wagner, who also said that there were "squadrons of liquidators" who dealt with fighters who were considered problematic.
In one instance, Novikov recalls, “the shelling started, one of the prisoners lay down and did not cover his own [men].
The shelling stopped, he went back and the superior called out to him, 'Why don't you go further?'
And they killed him.”
Pictures of the Ukraine war: great horror and small moments of happiness
View photo gallery
Convicts for the Wagner group in action
Alexander Drozdov, another former inmate cited in the report, said many of the Russian prisoners Wagner sent to the front in Ukraine were drug addicts and "completely insane."
While some recruited prisoners deserted or disobeyed orders, others were "just screwed and trying to get by," Drozdow said.
These fighters are "very different from ordinary mercenaries".
According to Drozdow, the Wagner group makes clear distinctions between prisoners and professional mercenaries.
While the powerful Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin called the prisoners-turned-mercenaries “patriots” and “heroes,” one source said the group made it clear to the prisoners that they were forbidden from joining the private army.
"You're not Wagner, you're a project, don't even call yourself [Wagner].
Because you're just a project," Sergei Vershschagin is quoted as saying.
Wagner boss Prigozhin recruits prisoners for Ukraine deployment
Since June 2022 at the latest, Prigozhin has been personally recruiting prisoners in Russian prison camps for a war effort in Ukraine.
He promised a pardon for those who decided to serve, provided they survived at the front for six months.
Anyone who did not want to fight at the front would be classified as a deserter and shot.
In January 2023, the first Wagner prisoners had completed their six-month minimum stay in Ukraine and were released with pardon.
Prigozhin advised them not to drink too much, not to take drugs and not to rape or kill women
Putin's last hope?
Why Russia Hardly Uses Its 'Most Advanced' Fighter Jet
"Apocalypse" in Bakhmut: Ukraine applies new war strategy - regardless of losses
Putin spokesman sees NATO "involved" in Ukraine war - Armenia gives Russia a low blow
New tanks for the Ukraine: The Challenger 2 from Great Britain can do that
Some are almost used up?
Ukraine wants access to Putin's missile arsenal
Fancy a voyage of discovery?
A senior Ukrainian military adviser told US magazine
in December that Russian prisoners were being "killed in large numbers."
"They are being pushed to the front [in Bakhmut]," said Oleksandr Danylyuk, Ukraine's former national security adviser.
"You have nothing to lose.
So they keep attacking.” Russian dissident Vladimir Osechkin takes a similar view:
“The survival rate for ex-convicts fighting in the Wagner group is around 15 to 20 percent.
Most of the survivors are badly wounded.
Those trying to escape or surrender will be shot.”
Wagner boss Prigoshin shows no consideration for mercenaries
The exact number of Wagner mercenaries is unknown.
According to the US government, around 50,000 fighters are deployed in Ukraine.
According to John Kirby, this includes almost 40,000 prisoners.
The White House communications director also commented on Prigozhin in December.
According to Kirby, the Wagner boss "literally puts people through a meat grinder" in Ukraine.
He has no regard for human life, especially Ukrainian ones.
"But I would go so far as to say not in Russian either," Kirby said.