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British intel: hundreds of Wagner mercenaries return to Ukraine frontlines

Reports suggest a concentration of Wagner fighters near occupied Bakhmut, highlighting their expertise and the potential impact on the ongoing conflict.
Wagner mercenaries return to Ukraine frontlines.
The Wagner Group mercenaries. Photo: Russian media
British intel: hundreds of Wagner mercenaries return to Ukraine frontlines

After Prigozhin’s mutiny failed, some Wagner Group fighters initially scattered to Africa and Belarus. However, British intelligence now reveals that a substantial number of Wagner mercenaries are returning to Ukraine’s frontlines, integrating into other volunteer units. The estimated count currently stands at several hundred individuals.

“Several reports suggest a concentration of Wagner veterans around Bakhmut: their experience is likely to be particularly in demand in this sector. Many will be familiar with current front line and local Ukrainian tactics, having fought over the same terrain last winter,”  the UK Ministry of Defense noted on social media.

According to the UK Ministry of Defense, the status of the redeployed Wagner personnel is uncertain, but they likely transferred to units of the Russian Ministry of Defence and other private military contractors.

The Wagner Group halted active participation in the war in Ukraine in early summer 2023, due to a dispute between its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and the Russian Ministry of Defense. On 24 June 2023, Prigozhin attempted an unsuccessful mutiny against Moscow, posing the most significant challenge to Putin’s authority in two decades. On 23 August 2023, Prigozhin died in an aviation accident. The Kremlin has denied any involvement in these events.

The Wagner Group consisted of volunteers, including professional military personnel and inmates. The group received its funding from the Russian state budget, yet it operated independently of the Russian Ministry of Defense. Wagner fighters were notorious for their exceptional cruelty, not only towards Ukrainians but also among themselves.

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