Russia’s Wagner Group financier Prigozhin continues to rely on ineffective convicts to staff his forces – ISW

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The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says that Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin continues to rely on ineffective convicts to staff his forces.

Prigozhin declined to comment on a reporter’s question regarding ongoing recruitment drives at Krasnoyarsk Krai penal colonies, despite previously openly discussing prisoner participation in the war with Russian outlets like Prigozhin’s RiaFan linked to his “troll factory.”

Russian opposition outlet The Insider, however, found that over 500 prisoners recruited into Wagner units have died in the past two months. The publication added that Wagner lost between 800 and 1,000 mercenaries in Ukraine, indicating convicts comprise a large proportion of Wagner’s forces in Ukraine.

Ukrainian intelligence officials also previously reported that many prisoners suffering from infectious diseases infected Wagner troops, to which Prigozhin responded that he does not discriminate on the basis of illness.

Also, Yevheniy Prigozhin seeks to obfuscate his efforts to strengthen his independent power base with an appeal to the concept of Russia’s historic unity, according to ISW.

 

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