Russian mercenary bosses, the Wagner Group, want to recruit 30,000 new members. Photos/Illustrations
MOSCOW – Group Russian mercenaries , Wagner Group , plans to recruit around 30,000 new members by mid-May. This was stated by its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin.
In an audio message on Telegram, Prigozhin said that Wagner recruitment centers, which he said last week had opened in 42 Russian cities, employ an average of 500-800 people per day.
But he provided no evidence to back up the figure, which could not be independently verified.
Prigozhin said recruitment went better than he expected, and the volunteers were in better physical condition than the inmates he had previously worked with.
“By mid-May, we plan to increase the number of fighters in our unit by about 30,000,” he said.
Prigozhin had been carrying out an active campaign for months to claim Wagner’s role in the Russian offensive. He has frequently complained that Russian military top brass failed to give his group enough credit and even accused them of starving him of ammunition – a claim denied by Russia’s defense ministry.
Prigozhin’s Wagner Group suffered heavy losses while leading Russian efforts 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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