More than 5,000 convicts were pardoned after joining the Wagner Group of mercenaries and fighting for Russia in Ukraine. Photos/Illustrations
MOSCOW – More than 5,000 former criminals have been pardoned after completing their contracts to fight with mercenary groups Russia , Wagner Group oppose Ukraine . This was stated by the founder of the Russian mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin.
According to a Reuters report, Wagner’s group was initially manned by battle-hardened veterans of the Russian armed forces. The group took on a much more prominent role in the Ukrainian war after the Russian army suffered a series of humiliating defeats last year.
Prigozhin emerged from the shadows and recruited thousands from prison, offering them a chance at freedom in exchange for serving in some of Ukraine’s most dangerous battles.
“Currently, more than 5,000 people have been released with pardons after concluding their contracts with Wagner,” said Prigozhin, a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, in an audio recording posted on Telegram. 2023).
Prigozhin said that only 0.31% of those who were pardoned after Wagner’s service committed a crime, a figure that, according to him, is 10-20 times less than standard indicators.
Prigozhin, sometimes called “Putin’s chef” because of his extensive catering business, is the most powerful of a group of Putin allies who now control what is essentially a private army recruiting top military officers, ex-spies and convicts.
Prigozhin’s Wagner Group suffered heavy losses while leading Russia’s bid to capture the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which has held out since last summer in the longest and bloodiest fighting of the year-long war.
In January, the United States (US) assessed that Wagner had about 50,000 troops in Ukraine, including 40,000 inmates Prigozhin had recruited from Russian prisons with promises of free pardons if they lasted six months.
Ukrainian officials claim that around 30,000 Wagner soldiers have deserted or been killed or wounded, a figure which cannot be independently verified.
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