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Putin recruits former Wagner chief to lead new volunteer battalions in Ukraine

The newly-formed units will be operating on the frontlines, performing the same tasks as the Wagner Group did previously, but now under the supervision of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Putin recruits former Wagner chief to lead new volunteer battalions in Ukraine
Putin recruits former Wagner chief to lead new volunteer battalions in Ukraine, Photo: Kremlin.ru
Putin recruits former Wagner chief to lead new volunteer battalions in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Deputy Minister of Defense Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and former commander of the Wagner Group, Andrei Troshev. Putin proposed to Troshev to lead the formation of volunteer battalions for the war in Ukraine.

“You know about the issues that need to be resolved in advance so that the combat work goes in the best and most successful way,” Putin added.

Retired Colonel Andrei Troshev previously held the position of Chief of Staff of the Wagner group. He is recognized by his alias “Sedoi,” which translates to ‘the one with gray hair.’ Troshev is a veteran of Russia’s wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya and was honored with the Hero of Russia Award for his role in supporting government forces in Syria in 2015 and 2016 as Wagner commander. Previously, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that Troshev is already employed within the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Putin recruits former Wagner chief Troshev to lead new volunteer battalions in Ukraine
Former Wagner chief Andrei Troshev. Photo: Kremlin.ru

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. Two months later, Prigozhin died in an aviation accident. The Kremlin has consistently denied any involvement in these events.

Troshev was the first Wagner Group commander to refuse participation in Yevgeny Prigozhin’s rebel movement, Gulagu.net reported. Troshev allegedly provided sensitive internal information about the Wagner mercenaries to Russia’s FSB and Ministry of Defense.

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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