Yevgeny Prigozhin apparently wants to restructure the mercenary army "Group Wagner" after the battles for Bakhmut.
These are the plans of "Putin's cook".
Kiev – The relentless battle for the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine has been raging for months.
Ukrainian defenders still hold large parts of the city in the Donetsk region.
Last week, however, the mercenaries of the private army "Group Wagner" managed to penetrate the city after weeks of storming.
Mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin announced that his troops would control the entire area east of the Bakhmutka River.
It was the latest foray by the mercenary group fighting alongside the Russian army in Donetsk.
Prigozhin's goal: the complete capture of Bakhmut.
Mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin in riot gear in Ukraine's Donetsk region.
© IMAGO / ITAR-TASS
Prigozhin's plans for the Wagner group in the Ukraine war go far beyond Bakhmut
But even after the fall of the city, "Putin's cook" apparently already has further plans for his private army.
Over the weekend, Prigozhin announced via Telegram that he intends to transform the “Wagner Group” into an “uncompromising ideological elite parallel military organization” after the Battle of Bakhmut.
Among other things, a new recruitment wave is to be started for this in order to replenish the ranks of the mercenary army.
The "Group Wagner" must have suffered considerable losses in the fighting in the Ukraine War.
This was mainly due to the tactics of the private army: poorly trained recruits were used on the front line to storm enemy positions as part of human waves and literally overrun them.
Many of the recruits were convicts who Prigozhin's mercenaries had hired directly from Russian prisons to fight in the Ukraine war.
In exchange for their commitment, they were promised freedom if they survived the fighting.
Gruppe Wagner is to be restructured: "Putin's cook" wants to recruit more young adults
In the clinch with the Russian Ministry of Defense, however, the Wagner Group recently lost the opportunity to recruit convicts.
Therefore, the private army must now find new ways to get new mercenaries.
Recruitment centers are said to have already been opened in various Russian cities.
These can be found in boxing and martial arts clubs, among others, and are aimed primarily at teenagers and young adults.
A Russian regional news source announced on March 11 that the Wagner Group had opened six recruitment centers in schools and youth sports clubs in four Russian oblasts.
"The Wagner group probably aims to recruit underwhelming recruits through these youth-oriented campaigns and instill in them Prigozhin's extremist ideological brand of Russian ultranationalism," commented military experts from the US think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW). the developments.
“Prigozhin may be attempting to reorganize the Wagner group into an ideological elite parallel military organization to carve out a specialized role for it among Russian forces in Ukraine,” the ISW analysts continued.
Prigozhin's plans for Gruppe-Wagner: "Ideological elite parallel military organization" instead of mercenary squad
Previously, the "Group Wagner" was mainly used to make tactical gains on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine - often at heavy losses.
After taking Bakhmut, Prigozhin apparently wants to leave this role behind.
With this step, “Putin's cook” could also try to further increase his influence in the Kremlin's orbit.
In recent months, Prigozhin has been one of the harshest critics of Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and has also publicly criticized President Vladimir Putin.
Most recently, the mercenary boss warned the Kremlin not to provide the Wagner group with the ammunition needed for use in the Ukraine war.
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If Prigozhin can transform his Wagner group into an "elite ideological parallel military organization," he could present it as even more of a worthy antagonist to the Russian military.
In a statement on Telegram, Prigozhin explained that the further development of the organization was necessary because the group had gained in importance politically and socially.
Due to the ideological component, it must now be made clear who the “Wagner Group” is and what it stands for.
Prigozhin wants to realign mercenary army - ideology as "clear as a sledgehammer"
"The ideology should be as simple and clear as a sledgehammer," the mercenary boss continued.
The sledgehammer had become a dictum within the private army last fall.
The trigger for this was a video that showed the execution of a Wagner deserter with the same tool and was distributed by the mercenary group.
List of rubrics: © IMAGO / ITAR-TASS