In April, the Russian Defense Ministry recruited about 10,000 prisoners to be sent to Ukraine. Some of them will be placed under the command of the Wagner Group, reports the head of the independent NGO Sitting Rus, Olga Romanova, quoted on Sunday by the independent Russian portal Agentstwo.
– In fact, we can’t keep up with the count, April is not over yet, but in April they took roughly 10,000 at once – said Olga Romanova. In March and February, the recruitment was smaller, stressed the head of the Sitting Ruthenia NGO, which defends the rights of prisoners.
Prisoners in the ranks of the Wagnerians
According to Romanova, some of the recruited prisoners were placed under the command of Wagner’s mercenary group.
“Apparently, the Ministry of Defense gives the “surplus” to the Wagnerians, because ordinary lieutenants don’t know how to use them. [więźniami – przyp. red.] lead, she said. She did not rule out that in the future, employees of the Russian prison service would be involved in commanding the prisoners.
According to the estimates of Sitting Rus, by February 1, Wagner’s group had recruited about 49,000 prisoners in Russian colonies. At that time, 77 percent of that number was considered combat and non-combat losses, such as deserters and people who gave themselves up as prisoners. About 5,000 prisoners have returned from the war, and about 10,000 are in the active combat zone.
Mobilization before Ukraine’s counter-offensive
Recruitment in penal colonies has been intensified by the Russian Ministry of Defense against the backdrop of reports of an upcoming Ukrainian counter-offensive, the Russian portal Agentstwo assessed. Chief of the Armed Forces Ukraine announced that Kiev could start the operation from the Zaporizhzhya region to cut off Russia access to the land corridor to the Crimea.
From recently released secret documents CIAwhich was written by The Washington Post, among others, shows that the Russian army needs to supplement its troops with an additional 11,500 soldiers, who are to be sent to the front in Ukraine as soon as possible.
Main photo source: Sergei Malgavko/TASS/Forum