The fighters of the wagner group they have become “the expendable infantry of the Russian offensive in the east of Ukraine”, who never backs down, never gives up and acts among his own in a “ruthless” way, says a Ukrainian intelligence report published by CNN.
The group of mercenaries Wagnerled by the Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhinhas become very visible on the Ukrainian front in recent weeks and is always quick to take credit for the success of Russian advances, recalls the chain, always citing the intelligence report.
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The document, dated December 2022, concludes that Wagner poses a unique threat, even as he suffers extraordinary casualties.: “The death of thousands of soldiers of Wagner it does not matter to Russian society,” the report states.
“Assault groups do not withdraw without an order… Unauthorized removal of a team or without being injured is punishable by execution on the spot”the document specifies.
Wiretaps obtained by a Ukrainian intelligence source and shared with CNN also indicate a ruthless attitude on the battlefield. In one of them, a soldier is heard talking about another who tried to surrender to the Ukrainians and against whom they took reprisals.
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Wagner’s wounded fighters were often left on the battlefield for hours. “The assault infantry cannot remove the wounded from the battlefield on their own, since their main task is to continue the assault until the objective is achieved. If the assault fails, retreat is allowed, but only at night.”
The Ukrainians believe that the tactics of the mercenaries of Wagner “They are the only ones that are effective for the poorly trained mobilized troops that make up the majority of Russian ground forces.”
And they suggest that the Russian military may even be adapting its tactics to be more like this group.
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Russian convicts, tens of thousands of whom have been recruited by Wagner, often form the first wave in an attack and suffer the heaviest casualties, up to 80 percent of them, according to Ukrainian officials.
More experienced fighters follow, with thermal imaging and night vision equipment.
The Russian prisoners’ rights organization Rus Sidiaschaya (RS) said on Monday that Some 40,000 convicts recruited by the Wagner mercenary group had been killed, deserted, wounded or imprisoned in the Ukraine.
“At the front there are about 10,000 (convicts) fighting, since the rest died, were wounded, disappeared, deserted or turned themselves in”Olga Romanova, director of RS, told the My Russian Rights portal.
For its part, the United States announced last Friday that it will impose new sanctions against Wagner for its involvement in the conflict in Ukraine and will designate it as a “transnational criminal organization.”
The Kremlin, for its part, downplayed the importance of US sanctions and assured that they will not change anything “on a practical level.”
and the boss of wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, reacted to the US announcement over the weekend by saying that “finally, Wagner and the US will be colleagues”.
“Our relations from now on can be defined as ‘disputes between criminal clans,'” he said.
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