Bloodthirsty Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s private mercenary army known as the Wagner Group has recruited roughly 35,000 prisoners to fight as cannon fodder in his war in Ukraine.
This includes thousands of murderers, rapists, and even at least one “maniac” cannibal, all of whom would be pardoned if they survive six months on the front lines.
Putin’s Plan: Use Prisoners as Cannon Fodder
The Wagner Group has been the best known of Putin’s several private armies, and its mercenaries, who have a reputation of extreme brutality, have fought in conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, and several African countries since it was established in 2015.
The Wagner Group, which is managed by Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as Putin’s chef for his catering contracts to the Russian military, has been fighting in the invasion of Ukraine since its start in February.
Seeking to restore the former Communist Soviet empire, Putin sent 200,000 to invade Ukraine nine months ago, only to see them slaughtered in a stupefying catastrophe for Moscow’s once much dreaded military power.
The Russians have been on the retreat since April, as the Ukrainian defenders have now liberated close to half of the occupied areas.
1/ The Wagner mercenary group has already executed as many as 40 of its own men, according to Russian human rights activist Olga Romanova. She says in an interview that Wagner has recruited around 35,000-40,000 prisoners. Relatives say some were tortured into joining. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/bZEYXhG9Ze
— ChrisO_wiki@mastodon.social (@ChrisO_wiki) November 16, 2022
The Wagner Group Stoops To New Lows
Putin’s private mercenary army resorted to recruiting prisoners already in the spring, after Russia’s professional military started running out of troops.
Even though in September, Putin saw himself forced to declare full-fledged mobilization, the Wagner Group has kept on recruiting inmates as an easy source of readily available cannon fodder, promising them freedom and lavish pay.
At least 200,000 Russian fighters of all types – regular, proxy, mercenary – have been killed, wounded, or captured in the nine months of war so far.
The official count of the Ukrainian military, which, however, accounts only for Russian military personnel, not mercenaries or proxies, states that more than 83,000 of Putin’s troops have been killed in combat so far.
It also informs, as of Saturday, that nearly 18,000 units of heavy Russian military equipment have been destroyed.
— National resistance: Ukraine (@ResistUA) October 26, 2022
10 Libyans from PMC Wagner near Bakhmut after meeting with the Ukrainian 93rd brigade (18+)#Bakhmut #UkraineRussiaWar #Kherson #Ukrainian #Wagner #WagnerGroup #UkraineWillWin pic.twitter.com/pwxWZ4ZYo0
— Ukraine-Russia war (@UkraineRussia2) November 16, 2022
Mercenary’s ‘Portfolio’ Includes ‘Cannibalism’
The estimate that 35,000 Russian inmates, including cannibal murders, have been recruited by Putin’s chef Prigozhin for the Ukraine war, has been revealed by Olga Romanova, an executive of Russia behind Bars, a human rights group, as cited by The Daily Mail.
Romanova’s estimate comes after earlier this week, Prigozhin visisted prisons in Siberia, formerly part of the Soviet Union’s Gulag system of concentration camps, in order to grab hold of more inmate recruits.
According to the human rights activist, up to 40 Russian prisoners recruited as cannon fodder by the Wagner Group for the Ukraine war have been executed for attempted “desertion or treason.”
Romanova pointed out that a prisoner from Saratov, south of Moscow, in the European part of Russia, who joined Wagner, is known for having “cannibalism in his portfolio.”
Her information reveals at least several hundred convicted murderers are among the between 30,000 and 35,000 inmates recruited to fight in Ukraine.
In one visit to a prison in Spassk-Dalny, about 6,000 miles east of Russia’s capital Moscow, Prigozhin got 200 new recruits.
Romanova is particularly concerned by the fact that the prisoners would get full pardons if they manage to survive for six months on the front lines in Ukraine. While that may be a long shot, she expects that a fair number of them would come back to Russia and walk the streets as free men.
Putin has recruited up to 35,000 prisoners including rapists, murderers and even a 'maniac' CANNIBAL https://t.co/EO3bLJo55k
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) November 17, 2022
These are the indicative estimates of Russia’s combat losses as of Nov. 19, according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/lOM8M9B08t
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) November 19, 2022
This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.