According to a Russian non-governmental organization, tens of thousands of fighters recruited to fight in Ukraine for the Wagner Group, a Russian private mercenary combat group, are missing or dead.
The Wagner Group has recruited about 50,000 fighters in recent months, including some from prisons, but only 10,000 are fighting on the front lines for Wagner, according to Russia Behind. Olga Romanova, head of the Byrds, told My Russian Rights. Moscow Times.
“According to our data, 42-43 thousand [prisoners] Adopted at the end of December. Now the number is probably already over 50,000, ”he said Romanova. “Of these, 10,000 are fighting on the front lines, as the rest are all killed, missing, abandoned or surrendering.”
The statistics cited are the latest to show that Wagner’s combat power is crumbling in Ukraine, almost a year after the invasion of Ukraine, despite Russia’s efforts to secure victory on the battlefield. It’s just a symptom.
Fighters from the Wagner Group have been involved in heavy fighting in Soleda, a town where Russia has claimed victory over the past few weeks. John Kirby, coordinator of the White House National Security Council, said many of Wagner’s recruits had received minimal training since Wagner recruited 40,000 prisoners. He bears great responsibility for the profits made in Bahmut, “at an extraordinary cost.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also hinted at the dramatic losses suffered by Russians in Soledar in a recent speech.
“The area around Soledar is covered with corpses of invaders,” said Zelensky. “This is what madness looks like.”
The US Department of Defense also assesses that both Russian forces and Wagner suffered heavy losses.
“We are now well over 100,000,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, told reporters last week. “The Russians have suffered a tremendous amount of casualties in their armed forces, including not only their regular armed forces, but their mercenaries, Wagner groups, and other types of armed forces fighting the Russians. is also included.”
There are indications that some of these losses may be desertions. Earlier this month, AFP reported that Andrei Medvedev, a former member of the Wagner Group, was captured while on the run in Norway. The arrested Medvedev is believed to be the first Wagnerian member to defect to the West, according to the BBC.
Medvedev offered to share details about his experience with a private mercenary group to help expose war crimes for investigators, AFP reported. They reportedly witnessed “a deserter being executed” and “methods of terrorism”.
The Biden administration announced last week that it would designate the Wagner Group a “transnational criminal organization” to interfere with Wagner’s supply and ability to do business around the world.
Kirby of the National Security Council said, “Wagner… is a criminal organization committing widespread atrocities and human rights abuses, and we are committed to identifying, disrupting, exposing and targeting those who support Wagner.” I will work tirelessly to make it happen,” he said.
News of Wagner’s dissolution comes as the mercenary group is also experiencing problems in the Kremlin. According to the White House, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been trying to make up for the Russian military’s failures in Ukraine for some time, even though logistical and command-and-control failures are weakening his military power in Ukraine, and Wagner・I have relied on the fighting power of the group. Assessment of the National Security Council. However, Putin and Wagner group leader Evgeny Prigozhin have been at odds over the past few days, contradicting each other and sniping that their fighting forces are responsible for Solader.
In recent weeks, Putin appears to have begun trying to return the importance of Russia’s warfare to the military. Earlier this month, the president shook command of the Russian military by promoting General Valery Gerasimov in an attempt to give momentum to Russia’s military strategy.
Recent turmoil likely sidelined Wagner, according to the War Institute.
“Putin’s decision to concentrate on and rely on a regular Russian military disrespects the Wagner Group and the Siloviki faction that nonetheless continue to contribute to Russia’s war effort in Ukraine,” ISW said this week. said in the evaluation of
Gerasimov began his work by trying to improve discipline in Russia’s armed forces, according to an assessment of the British government’s intelligence services shared on Monday.
“Since he took command, officers have tried to crack down on non-regulated uniforms, traveling in civilian vehicles, cell phone use and non-standard haircuts,” the intelligence agency’s assessment said. “The measure has been met with skepticism. But some of the biggest ridicule has been replaced by attempts to improve the military’s shaving standards.”