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Previously convicted and traumatized: Putin unleashes pardoned Wagner mercenaries on Russia


War instead of jail: With this promise, Russia lured thousands of prisoners into the Wagner group. Now the first mercenaries are returning home. A problem?

War instead of jail: With this promise, Russia lured thousands of prisoners into the Wagner group.

Now the first mercenaries are returning home.

A problem?

Moscow – Impunity after the end of military service: With a clear deal, Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner group campaigned for weeks in Russia's prisons for new mercenaries.

The first recruits are now being pardoned.

But this poses massive challenges for Russian society.

Because the fighters of the private army are considered brutal.

Western secret services are alarmed - and warn of the consequences.

Ukraine war: Wagner group releases recruited prisoners - concern for Russian society

Above all, the British Ministry of Defense considers pardoning the Wagner mercenaries recruited from prisons to be a risk for the Russian population.

Thousands of Russian prisoners who fought for the group of Wagner mercenaries in the Ukraine war are expected to be pardoned and released in the coming weeks, according to the daily short report on Tuesday (March 21).

The sudden integration of often violent ex-offenders with recent traumatic combat experiences is likely to pose a major challenge, it said.


Count many prisoners in their ranks during the Ukraine war: the Wagner mercenaries from Prigozhin.

© IMAGO/Evgeny Biyatov

$1300 in earnings and freedom: With this deal, Prigozhin increased the number of mercenaries

The actions of the private army had long been approved by the Kremlin.

Videos showed Wagner boss Prigozhin personally recruiting mercenaries in the prisons.

According to the British secret service, the recruitment of prisoners reached its peak last autumn, which is why many of those affected should now be free.

Because the Wagner group had promised them a pardon after the end of a six-month assignment - in addition to an income of 1,300 US dollars per month.

Some mercenaries confirmed on social platforms that they had been promised "a return to civil society with a clean slate after service".

Killed or Executed: Wagner Group losses very high due to Battle of Bachmut

The Wagner group is considered extremely brutal and unscrupulous.

Currently, the mercenaries are mainly used in the battles surrounding Bakhmut.

There are always reports that the soldiers are supposed to be burned there.

Those who defy the orders of Prigozhin and his leadership are often to be mercilessly executed.

The losses are estimated to be correspondingly high.

According to NATO intelligence, for every Ukrainian soldier killed defending Bakhmut, there are at least five Russian soldiers or mercenaries.

In the Ukraine war, a lot of information cannot be independently verified.

However, as recently as January, the United States estimated that the Wagner force might have about 50,000 fighters deployed in Ukraine, including around 40,000 convicts.

But it is unclear how many are still alive after the start of the spring offensive and are actually allowed to return home.

The only thing that is certain is that the Wagner Group is having more and more recruitment problems.

Power struggle with Putin: Prigozhin now has to look elsewhere for recruits for the Russia-Ukraine war

Because the recruitment campaign in the prisons has now put a stop to Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

Behind this is said to be a power struggle between Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Wagner boss Prigozhin.

Apparently the loud army chief, who once rose to the ranks as Putin's chef, has become too powerful and ambitious for many in the Kremlin.

Now the Russian army is said to have taken over the recruitment for the Russia-Ukraine war itself in the prisons, about which Prigozhin recently complained powerfully via the Telegram channel.

Pictures of the Ukraine war: great horror and small moments of happiness

Pictures of the Ukraine war: great horror and small moments of happiness

But the Wagner boss needs new soldiers for his private army.

Instead of going to prisons, he now wants to start a nationwide advertising campaign in 42 of his own recruitment offices, where men and women can submit their applications for the Ukraine war.

500 to 800 new mercenaries will be recruited in this way - per day, Prigozhin said on his Telegram channel.

Fighting for Russia: Few Wagner mercenaries have been purified by the Ukraine war

Despite the horrors of the war, the majority of recruited men still believe in the legitimacy of Russia's war of aggression.

For example, seven captured Russian Wagner fighters were recently interviewed by the

Kyiv Post

in a detention center in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro.

All but one fighter interviewed justified their participation, denied war crimes, but acknowledged the high casualty toll.

Only a 27-year-old, who had previously been incarcerated for drug trafficking, showed himself to be really purified from the war effort.

He said he was "misled" by Russian media into believing that Russian speakers were being targeted and killed by the Ukrainian government.

He asks the "Ukrainian women for forgiveness" that the mercenaries came to their country "to kill their husbands and sons".

His comrades were less insightful.



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List of rubrics: © IMAGO/Evgeny Biyatov

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-03-21

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