Ukraine. The head of the Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, personally recruits prisoners to fight against Ukraine

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner Group and a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has personally recruited prisoners for the war in Ukraine, the Institute for War Studies (ISW) reported, confirming previous media reports. A video has surfaced on the internet in which a man who looks like Prigozhyn has to promise the prisoners pardon for six months of fighting for Russia. “They have no problem with repeat offenders, prisoners who committed cruel crimes,” said Ukrainian MP Halyna Yanchenko.

The information that Yevgeny Prigozhin, referred to by the media as “Putin’s cook”, is to personally recruit prisoners to fight in Ukraine, was reported by the Mediazona portal. The video shared by associates of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny shows a man similar to Prigozhin presenting the terms of “cooperation” to the prisoners of one of the penal colonies.

The man says, among other things, that desertion, looting, drugs, alcohol and slavery are prohibited. He also explains that “this war is tough”. – It’s not like in Chechnya. My ammunition consumption is about twice as high as in Stalingrad, says the convict. He promises pardon for his commitment to fight for six months. However, he warns that if anyone ends the fight, he will be declared a deserter and shot.

Yevgeny Prigolyn (2016)Mikhail Metzel / TASS / Forum

Navalny’s associates claim that the incorporation of the colony into the Mari El Republic was sent to them by one of the prisoners.

The video was shared by Halyna Yanchenko, Member of Parliament of the Ukrainian Supreme Council. “The head of PMC (private military company – ed.) Prigożyn ‘personally employs’ criminals. They have no problem with repeat offenders, prisoners who committed cruel crimes, rapes,” she wrote on Twitter.

ISW: Prigozhin will be the face of the war in Ukraine

The American Institute for War Studies (ISW) also wrote about the case. Think tank in Thursday’s report pointed out that the head of the so-called Wagner’s groups personally recruited prisoners for the war in Ukraine. Prigozhin would also confirm that Russian prisoners have been fighting in Ukraine since July 1 and have played a key role in the seizure of the Vuhlehirskaya thermal power plant in Donetsk Oblast.

According to the ISW, Prigozhin will be the face of a “special military operation” in Russia, as Kremlin propaganda describes the invasion of Ukraine. He is trying to regain support from nationalists and bloggers disappointed by Russia’s failures in the Kharkiv region, and blames Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for these failures, experts say.

Michał Przedlacki, a reporter for TVN’s “Supervisor”, also spoke of concerns about the prisoner recruitment process. He pointed to what happened in Russian penal colonies, “where the Wagner Group is actively recruiting serious criminals … where they are promised six months at the front, and if they survive, they will be released.”

– We have seen what happened in Chechnya. I had contact with these soldiers [rekrutowanymi spośród więźniów – red.]. It was soldiers who were drunk, who had used drugs, who murdered, who raped, who burned the villages – he explained.

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