Wagner Group fighters have become disposable infantry. Russian Aggressive in eastern Ukraine, but a Ukrainian military intelligence document obtained by CNN shows how effective they have been around the city of Bakhmut – and how difficult it is to fight them.
Wagner is a private military contractor run by oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has been highly visible on the front lines in recent weeks – and is always quick to take credit for Russian advances. Wagner’s fighters have been heavily involved in capturing Soledar, a few miles northeast of Bakhmut, and the area around the town.
Ukraine’s report – dated December 2022 – concludes that Wagner represents a unique threat in close quarters, despite the extraordinary loss of life. The report asserts that “the death of thousands of Wagner soldiers does not matter to Russian society.
The video shows a shooting battle between Ukrainian and Russian forces.
“A raiding party does not retreat without an order… the unauthorized withdrawal of a team or the execution of a team without being wounded may be executed on the spot.”
Phone intercepts obtained by Ukrainian intelligence sources and shared with CNN also indicate ruthless behavior on the battlefield. In one, one soldier is heard talking about another who tried to surrender to the Ukrainians.
“Wagnerian grabbed him and cut off his king balls,” says the soldier.
CNN could not independently confirm the call, which reportedly took place in November.
Wounded Wagner fighters are often left on the battlefield for hours, according to a Ukrainian assessment. “Assault infantry are not permitted to carry the wounded off the battlefield on their own, as their primary function is to continue the attack until the objective is achieved. If the attack fails, retreat is permitted only at night.”
Despite a brutal indifference to the casualties—demonstrated by Prigozhin himself – Ukrainian analysis says Wagner’s tactics are “only effective for the poorly trained mobile troops who make up the majority of Russian ground forces.”
It suggests that the Russian military is also adapting its tactics to become more like Wagner, saying: “Instead of the classic battalion tactical groups of the Russian armed forces, assault units are proposed.”
This would be a significant change from the Russians’ traditional reliance on large, mechanized units.
On the ground, according to Ukrainian intelligence phone intercepts, some mobilized troops are considering moving to Wagner. In one such intervention, a soldier confronts Wagner to his unit and says: “This is the king of heaven and earth. So if I’m going to serve the king, I’m going to serve the king there.”
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Ukraine’s report said. Wagner Deploys its forces in mobile groups of about a dozen or fewer, using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and leveraging real-time drone intelligence, which the report calls a “key element.” Explains.
Another tool Wagner soldiers have is the use of communications equipment made by Motorola, according to the document.
Motorola told CNN it has suspended all sales to Russia and closed its operations there.
Criminals – dozens Thousands of Those recruited by Wagner – often make up the first wave in an attack and take the heaviest casualties – up to 80%, according to Ukrainian officials.
More experienced fighters, with thermal imagery and night vision equipment, followed.
For the Ukrainians, their own drone intelligence is critical to preventing their trenches from being overwhelmed by grenade attacks. The document mentions a December incident in which a drone spotted the Wagner group making an advance, allowing Ukrainian defense forces to eliminate it before it could fire RPGs.
If Wagner’s forces manage to take position, artillery support allows him to dig in the Foxes and consolidate his gains, but the Foxes are too weak to attack on open ground. And again – in line with the Ukrainian intervention – coordination between Wagner and the Russian military is often lacking. In an intercepted call – not reconfirmable – a soldier told his father that his unit had mistakenly taken out a Wagner vehicle.
Prigozhin has repeatedly insisted that his fighters were responsible for last week’s capture of Solidar and nearby settlements, the first Russian military success in months. “No unit other than the Wagner PMC operative was involved in the storming of Soledar,” he claimed.
Wagner’s performance is Prigozhin’s way to access more resources and is instrumental in his ongoing battle with the Russian military establishment, which he has often described as incompetent and corrupt.
According to British intelligence, the Russian military chief of staff, Valery Gerasimov, ordered that the troops be withdrawn in a better way. “War is a time for the active and the brave, not the clean-shaven,” Prigogne replied.
Commenting on Gerasimov’s new strictures, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Monday: “Russian forces continue to suffer operational disruptions and heavy casualties. Gerasimov’s preference for largely modest regulations Many of his suspicions may be confirmed in Russia.
Gerasimov was appointed overall commander of Russia’s so-called “special military operations” in Ukraine. Before month amid growing criticism of its declining progress.
As long as the Russian Ministry of Defense has underperformed, Prigozhin will follow on his heels and demand more resources for Wagner.
The group appears to have been able to obtain weapons through other means as well. US officials said last week that Wagner had obtained weapons from North Korea. “Last month, North Korea delivered infantry rockets and missiles to Russia for use by Wagner,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.
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Prigosan is not a lack of desire. As he stood in Soledar last week, he declared that Wagner was perhaps “the most experienced military man in the world today.”
He claimed that his forces already had multiple launch rocket systems, their own air defenses and artillery.
Prigozhin also drew a subtle comparison between Wagner and the top-down strictness of the Russian military, saying that “everyone on the ground is listened to. Commanders consult with fighters, and PMCs (private military companies) The leadership consults with the commanders.
“That’s why Wagner PMC has moved forward and will continue to move forward.”
Two months ago, Andrei Kolesnikov, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, likened Prigozhin’s growing influence to that of Grigory Rasputin at the court of Tsar Nicholas II. He said that Putin needs military effectiveness at any cost. Current Time TV.
“It has a negative demonic charisma. [Prigozhin]And in a sense, this charisma can rival Putin’s. Putin needs him now in this capacity, in this form.
Prigozhin seems to have been drawn by comparisons to Rasputin, the mystical figure who cured the tsar’s son of hemophilia, a bleeding disorder. But in comments published by his company Concord this weekend, he had his own unique twist on it.
“Unfortunately, I don’t harden the flow of blood. I shed the blood of the enemies of the motherland. And not by chanting, but by direct contact with them.