Russian organised crime ‘the most globally spread’ says expert
The news comes as the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its 166th day, and has seen huge losses of Putin’s personnel in the process, with the latest reports suggesting 42,340 have been killed in action so far. Many credit the surging numbers of Russian losses to the supply of western weapons to Ukraine to defend themselves, proving most effective in wiping out over 1,800 tanks and 4,000 armoured personnel vehicles in the process.
Reports had already emerged over the last month that Putin had turned to convicts from prisons to bolster numbers on the front line, in particular playing a role in the private mercenary group
Now, the plot to bring convicted murderers to the frontline has been exposed by a source from within the Kremlin about the Wagner Group leader, also known as “Putin’s Chef.”
Reports in The Telegraph suggest up to 1,000 convicts from 17 prisons have been drafted into the war, in return for a salary, and most worryingly, a pardon for their crimes.
The news was revealed by the Verstka website.
It said: “Three prisoners told human rights activists that businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin was allegedly coming to the colony,” referring to the Wagner boss seemingly having a direct role in the recruitment of prisoners.
Putin is turning to prisons to recruit frontline personnel
Russia has lost over 42,000 troops since the start of the war
Criteria for joining the group according to Russia Sitting suggested volunteers needed to be in a good physical condition and pledge allegiance to the “motherland”.
Quoting some of the prisoners, Verstka continued: “Firstly, recruiters show interest in those convicted for murder and robbery.
“Those inmates in prison for drug and sex offences are normally not selected.”
The expose reveals prisoners are given a physical test to prove they can handle the demanding challenges of the front line.
The report added: “Wagner recruiters refuse elderly people and those with serious illnesses.
“To check, they are asked to do push-ups on the floor, sit-ups and perform other physical exercises.”
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The Wagner group have wide support in Pro-Putin circles
Yevgeny Prigozhin is also known as “Putin’s Chef”
Following the inspection procedure, the convicts are then sent to basic military training before joining frontline forces in the Donbas region.
The report suggests Wagner members receive 200,000 roubles a month (£2,700), a presidential pardon and a so-called “coffin payment” should the convict be killed in action.
Russian Sitting, condemning the move said: “e can advise relatives, if possible, to convey the risks to their loved ones and try to dissuade them from accepting the offers of mercenary recruiters.”
Mr Prigozhin earned the name “Putin’s Chef” following a picture showing him serving Putin food whilst dressed in a chef’s outfit.
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Convicts are sent to the front line following basic training and a physical test
Furthermore, the Wagner boss also has ties to restaurants and catering companies.
Yet, in spite of his role, Mr Prigozhin is wanted by the FBI, being accused by the agency of his alleged involvement in the US elections, in which Russian entities were said to have influenced the outcome of the vote that saw Donald Trump elected as the President of the United States.
The shady character is also responsible for the Wagner group which has played a part in various operations across Africa, West Asia as well as in Ukraine.
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North Korea could send up to 100,000 troops to eastern Ukraine
Speaking of the role of the Wagner group, the British Ministry of Defence has previously said: “This is a significant change from the previous employment of the group since 2015, when it typically undertook missions distinct from overt, large-scale regular Russian military activity.”
Although the Ministry of Defence has previously highlighted the Wagner recruitment drive in Russian prisons it hadn’t said how successful this drive had been or just how much effort Wagner had put into it.
Russia has also turned to separatists and Chechen fighters to boost numbers, and reports last week suggested North Korea is considering sending 100,000 troops to the Donbas region in exchange for grain and energy.
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