June 22, 2024

Some former Wagner Group mercenaries who were in Belarus have signed contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defence and moved to the eastern front in Ukraine. Some of them have gone to Africa.

Source: Illia Yevlash, spokesperson for the Eastern Grouping of Forces, in a comment to Ukrainska Pravda; CNN; Andrii Demchenko, spokesperson for the State Border Guard Service, in a comment to Ukrainska Pravda

Quote from Yevlash: “Former members of the Wagner private military company are now actually present in the territory of the Eastern Grouping of Forces.

They are taking part in the fighting. Specifically, they are coming from the territory of Belarus, where they had their camps.

They are now being disbanded. These servicemen are joining various units – some of them are going to Africa, some are re-signing contracts with the Russian Defence Ministry and participating [in the war] in various capacities, including as instructors. Some are going to regular combat units.

They do not pose the same threat as they did, say, a year ago, due to the loss of their main leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin.”

Details: The Ukrainian Border Guard Service confirmed to Ukrainska Pravda that there were more than 6,000 Wagnerites in Belarus. Currently, Andrii Demchenko said, about 500 of them are still in Belarus.

Earlier, an aerial reconnaissance operator from the Code 9.2 unit of the 92nd Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine told CNN that Wagnerites had returned to the Bakhmut front.

The soldier said the mercenaries had quickly changed commanders and returned to Bakhmut.

Background: 

  • Earlier, it was reported that the Russian Guard is recruiting former prisoner-fighters of the Wagner Group to subdue the remaining Wagner fighters and at the same time take care of Russia’s internal security.

  • Following the death of Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and other senior figures in a plane crash in August, the Kremlin began to say that Wagner does not legally exist, and they could not comment on the company’s future.

  • The Russian Defence Ministry issued an order obliging all “volunteer formations” to sign contracts with the ministry last summer so that all formations would come under the authority of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

  • Prigozhin refused to sign the contract and “marched” on Moscow.

  • After the “mutiny” failed, the mercenaries left the territory of Russia for Belarus and set up camp there.

  • Prigozhin’s mercenaries destroyed Ukraine’s Bakhmut and occupied the ruins.

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